This historic week for Brooklyn and the U.S. is being marked daily by New York Street Artist General Howe at the sites where the actual “Battle of Brooklyn” took place exactly 234 years earlier. Brooklyn Street Art is pleased to bring you daily updates on the plundering of boundaries between Street Art, performance art, and historical land-marking along with live social media updates by Kianga Ellis. All week we will travel around Brooklyn tracing the troop movements as General Howe stages small-scale battle scenes to connect us with history and possibly examine the childhood pastime of playing “war”.
“Largest battle of the entire Revolutionary War”
On this same ground, in these neighborhoods and streets that have names that are the same or similar to what they were 234 years ago today, the army of George Washington suffered it’s biggest loss.
Today the installations by Street Artist General Howe came to a booming crescendo as we raced after him across Brooklyn, erecting all manner of art pieces to commemorate the day when the American army was surrounded and nearly decimated. The largest battle fought in North America up to that point, the American Continental army suffered greatly – outnumbered, surrounded, and overpowered by the high-tech professional Brits and Hessians.
On this day, August 27th, hundreds of soldiers were killed and hundreds more taken prisoner down to the Wallabout Bay (Navy Yard). During the night on the 29th the remaining Patriots escaped across the river by boat to Manhattan while the Brits hunkered down only a few hundred yards away.
General Howe describes August 27th:
With an outstanding flanking maneuver begun the previous day, the British outsmart the American defense. Simultaneously, full-blown combat begins near a tavern close to the Greenwood Cemetery. As fighting ensues, many Patriot soldiers flee across the Gowanus Creek to a fortified location in Brooklyn Heights.
The Maryland 400 stay behind to hold off the British while their American comrades escape. A crucial battle takes place at the Vechte house, a farmhouse now known as the Old Stone House located in modern-day Park Slope. Many Patriot soldiers make it to safety thanks to this dedicated unit from Maryland, but some Americans are killed and drowned by the British in the Gowanus Creek. By the end of this day, the largest battle of the entire Revolutionary War will be fought and conclude in a devastating defeat for the Americans. About 300 Patriot soldiers are killed and over 1,000 captured. On the night of August 29, 1776, General George Washington personally leads an astonishing evacuation of the entire American army across the East River to Manhattan.
The Landscape: Greenwood Cemetery, Crown Heights, Prospect Park, Park Slope, Gowanus and Brooklyn Heights
This six-day event is shared live with the public complete with historical quotes, the General’s musings, and twitpics by Kianga Ellis on
Twitter (www.twitter.com/kiangaellis) (subject hashtag “#RevWar” if you like)
and Foursquare (www.foursquare.com/user/kiangaellis)
See our interview with General Howe, “WAR ON APATHY” on The Huffington Post
Link to other days in the Battle of Brooklyn – just click the date.