The Battle of Brooklyn
The writer offers belated thanks to the Maryland men who gave their lives to save New York 240 years ago
Aletter of thanks is in order to the good state of Maryland and its residents for your courageous and noble services rendered to my fair state (then the British province) of New York 240 years ago. For those Marylanders (and New Yorkers and Americans) who do not know, our great United States would probably not be if not for a few good Maryland men.
On Aug. 27, 1776, after a two-month buildup of ships, troops, weaponry and materiel, the British Empire set loose forces numbering 32,000 to inflict one massive single blow to the American cause of liberty and independence. Their target — the heavily fortified hills of Brooklyn on Long Island — was a stepping stone to capturing New York City and to splitting the new nation along the Hudson River. The Continental Army and states’ militias were mostly green and untested. The British troops and their Hessian mercenaries were some of the best soldiers in the world at the time.
After a magnificent British flanking movement caught our American troops by surprise, the unit called the “Maryland 400” brought serious battle to the British invaders. While so much more can be and has been written about these brave men, Brig. Gen. Lord Stirling and Maj. Mordecai Gist led attacks that allowed a vast amount of soldiers to retreat and evacuate the battlefield. The Marylanders were ordered to delay the enemy pursuit of a nearly defeated American army. These heroic actions essentially sentenced many to death or capture by the ruthless British, who denounced us as rebels and traitors, and not simply as opposing foreign combatants.
The decisive and selfless actions of your good Maryland 400 (actually around 270) resulted in the deaths of 256 of them, many still in unmarked graves in Park Slope, Brooklyn. We have the historic and important Old Stone House and a state historical marker here in Park Slope, and a beautiful “Maryland Monument” in Prospect Park inscribed with a quote attributed to American Gen. George Washington: “Good God, what brave fellows I must this day lose.”
We do celebrate the heroics of your Maryland 400 each Aug. The Battle of Brooklyn painted by Alonzo Chappel in the mid-19th century. 27 with a battle week of tours, lectures, re-enactments and prayer at our famous Green-Wood Cemetery.
Thank you, Maryland. Your brave deeds to save George Washington’s army and our 6-week-old independent nation shall never be forgotten. Your Marylanders saved the army so that we could retreat, regroup and fight another day. And that we did.
Most noteworthy to this revolutionary topic is Maryland’s Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the last living signatory, passing away in 1832 at the age 95. Brooklyn’s Carroll Street, Carroll Park and the Carroll Gardens neighborhood are named after him and commemorate his service to our country.
Huzzah! All hail the Old Line State!