A love of history was mixed with the acrid smell of gun smoke and a pinch of patriotic pride Sunday as Brooklynites remembered a pivotal Revolutionary War battle that exploded over what is now Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Green-Wood Cemetery, but is rarely given a mention in today’s history books.
So goes the Battle of Brooklyn, which is considered the first major military confrontation in the Revolutionary War.
It was almost nearly the last engagement for General George Washington, who lost 2,000 men and was forced to flee to Manhattan following fierce flogging by an onslaught of British troops.
Still, the colonists made it loud and clear that they were not going to live under the British standard any longer by taking on a military three times its size and ultimately overtaking a British fortification that is now known as the Old Stone House on 5th Avenue and 5th Street.
Following a memorial march sponsored by the Irish American Parade Committee on August 24, the bloody battle was remembered at Green-Wood Cemetery as scholars and area history buffs enjoyed a Revolutionary War re-enactment that included an infantry and artillery firing demonstration.
A commemoration party were then led by a lone bagpiper through the cemetery to the graves of Irish Korean War veterans, Matilda Tone, the wife of Irish patriot Theobald Wolfe Tone, John Gallagher, historian and author of the Battle of Brooklyn and the Minerva Monument on Battle Hill.
The commemoration was held to “draw attention to the vast contributions and significant and historic role of the Irish in the first battle of the American Revolution.
The day before the re-enactment, residents in Fort Greene remembered all of the American colonists who perished aboard the British prison ships moored in Wallabout Basin.
The remains of 11,500 of these victims are entombed in the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park, which turned 100 this year.