|The Grand Republican
Brooklyn Heritage Trail
By Frederick Halla
The Brooklyn American Revolution Heritage Trail with street and significant site signs will become a reality and an important tourist attraction in the near future if Robert Furman and his Heritage Trail Committee continue successfully working as hard as they have been doing lately. During the last twenty years, with the eneerally increased national and local interest in American history and the contributions and achievements of our ancestors in building the U.S.A. of today, more and more attention has finally been given to the Battle of Long Island or Battle of Brooklyn, call it what you will.
Not many Americans are aware that the survival of the new American nation depended on the battle fought at Gowanus, at Battle Pass in what is not Prospect Park and other sections of Brooklyn now known as Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Ft. Greene, Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn only six weeks after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia.
Backed by a fleet of about 500 ships and more than 40,000 well trained British and Hessian soldiers and sailors, in August 1776, English General William Howe and his brother Admiral Richard Howe confronted General George Washington's 13,000 raw recruits and poorly prepared militia. A crucial climax on August 27, 1776 at the Vechte-Cortelyou farm house near the southwest corner of Third Street and Fifth Avenue in present day Brooklyn delayed the advancing British and Hessians long enough for Washington to retreat and for the Revolution to continue.
Without the sacrifice of the Maryland troops and the delaying tactics of Delaware,. Pennsylvania and New Jersey militia under the leadership of American William Alexander Lord Stirling, Washington and the rest of his army would probably have been captured in Brooklyn.
Robert Furman, Susan Miller, Chair of the Old Stone House Historic Interpretive Center, John Gallagher, Herbert Yellin and other volunteers have joined forces and coordinated their talents and knowledge with the Brooklyn American Revolution Heritage Trail Committee which has ambitious and noteworthy goals of identifying the many sites, their locations and their significance in the Revolution.
Some of the Heritage sites with information may include places like the Citadel on Clover Hill which now is where 60 Pierrepont Street and also where the First Unitarian Church on Monroe Place are located. Ft. Stirling, was located where now are Orange and Pineapple Streets, Corkscrew or Ponkiesberg Fortification on Red Hook Lane between Fulton Street and Boerum Place and numerous other forgotten places long since lost by buildings, thoroughfares, have removed the possibilities of much archeological work although Long Meadow in Prospect Park and other sites may, possibly through modern technological devices, show evidence of historical remains. Brooklyn has a much more momentous role in the early history of the colonies of the United States than has been recognized until recently.