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Return of the Redcoats: Locals re-enact Battle of Brooklyn at site of revolutionary conflict - Brooklyn Paper

Return of the Redcoats: Locals re-enact Battle of Brooklyn at site of revolutionary conflict

Bang!: Rebel soldiers fire off a barrage during the reenactment of the Battle of Brooklyn in Green-Wood Cemetery on Sunday.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Talk about history repeating!

Invading Redcoats drove Gen. George Washington and his Continental Army out of Green-Wood Cemetery in a thrilling re-enactment of the Battle of Brooklyn on Aug. 27, delighting youngsters with a performance that celebrated American independence, according to a rebel “soldier.”

“A lot of young kids love it,” said Antoine Watts, who played an American fighter. “For them it’s like the Fourth of July all over again.”

The 1776 battle — the first major conflict of the Revolutionary War — was fought 241 years ago.

It pitted Washington and his troops against British Gen. William Howe, who chased the Americans across Long Island and onto Battle Hill, which is located in the present-day graveyard, where hundreds of continental soldiers stood their ground in one of the revolution’s bloodiest fights.

The Brits eventually won, but not before the courageous band of troops — whose remains some historians argue are buried nearby — heroically fought them off long enough for Washington to retreat to the distant isle of Manhattan.

The terrain today looks a bit different than it did back then, however, and the mausoleums and headstones that dot the historic incline prevented a restaging of the entire battle, according to Watts.

Instead, actors demonstrated revolution-era combat using equipment including muskets and cannons, which exploded as soldiers in both armies fell to their fake death, he said.

“We’ll go through the tactics of the time, and some people will take casualties,” Watts said. “We’ll do everything except actually bayonet each other.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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