Editors Note: A sign is erected for the heroes of the Battle of Brooklyn but writer Bill Hughes believes more should be done. He sent his last article on the battle to Gov. Larry Hogan’s office with a request to build a monument to honor those who died. Hogan’s office said there are multiple monuments in the city to honor those who have died in battle, including the monument in Prospect Park, which is dedicated to the 400 heroes who saved America’s Army.
“Today, marking the Marylanders’ sacrifice is a rusted metal sign. It hangs from the American Legion Post #1636, in Brooklyn, New York. The Legion’s hall is surrounded by garages and auto repair shops. The sign reads: ‘Maryland Heroes. Here lie buried 256 Maryland soldiers Who Fell in the Battle of Brooklyn. August 27, 1776.’ If there is such a thing as “Hallowed Ground,” their mass grave, is believed to be located nearby, surely is. We live in an era of monuments galore, but, shamefully, there isn’t one to honor these fallen heroes from Maryland.”
I recently sent this article I wrote for Baltimore Post-Examiner, with a note, asking Governor Larry Hogan to take positive action to correct this deplorable situation.
His office responded on Feb. 21, 2016. The writer acknowledged a “plaque was placed” at the American Legion Post, in Brooklyn, back in 1952, where our 256 heroes are buried. Now, of course, it is weather-beaten and rusting away. (See the Governor’s office full responds attached.)
I appreciate the Governor’s office response. But, it is not good enough. The site, indeed “Hallowed Ground,” where these 256 Maryland heroes fell in battle, and are buried, needs an appropriate monument. That rusting away metal plaque/sign over an American Legion Post doesn’t do the job. More needs to be done. The State of Maryland, along with the Colonial Sons of the Revolution, and other kindred Maryland colonial societies, must take the lead on this important issue. We owe it out revered hero soldiers who fell in the historic battle of Brooklyn, so many years ago. Honor their brave deeds and build a monument to mark their graves, and the holy cause, for which they gave their lives.
Let us not forget what General Washington said of these men while watching them hold the line against the British imperial forces. He commented, “Good God! What brave fellows I must this day lose.” Those soldiers later became known at the “Immortal 400.”
Governor’s response belowe dated Feb. 21, 2017:
Dear Mr. Hughes:
Thank you for your recent letter to Governor Larry Hogan regarding development of a monument to honor those Marylanders who died at the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. The Governor has asked that I respond on his behalf. Already there are five sites in New York and in Maryland that commemorate the Maryland Line’s actions in Brooklyn.
The large and impressive “Monument to the Maryland 400” was erected in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in 1895 by the Maryland Society, Sons of the American Revolution, at a site in the vicinity of the Battle action involving the Maryland troops. The renowned architect Stanford White designed the monument. In 1991 the monument underwent substantial restoration and repairs sponsored by the Maryland Military Monuments Commission through a Maryland Historical Trust grant and other private funding. Additional conservation work, including replacement letters, was funded by the Monuments Commission in 2009. Conservators within the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation provide annual expert maintenance of the monument. Also in Brooklyn, the State of Maryland funded a permanent diorama display of the battle action involving the heroic efforts of the Maryland 400. The diorama is in the Old Stone House Historic Interpretive Center in Brooklyn, a reconstruction of the Cortelyou farmhouse, the site of the battle. In 1901 the Maryland Society, Sons of the American Revolution, erected a substantial memorial in Baltimore, known as the “Maryland Line Monument.” The nearly 60-foot tall column, at Mount Royal Avenue and Cathedral Street, remains prominent today, marking the gateway to Baltimore’s premier cultural district. The front tablet is inscribed to the Patriots of Maryland and to the Maryland Line, and lists the battles of the Revolutionary War where the Maryland Line fought, including “Long Island, August 27 and 29, 1776.”
In addition to the memorials, the Maryland State Archives project, “Finding the Maryland 400,” is an effort to learn about the lives of the Marylanders who served in the Continental Army during the battle. Posted on the Archives’ website, the project includes the roster of known First Maryland Regiment soldiers who fought in the battle, biographies, troop movements, and other battles where Marylanders fought. Thank you for sharing your support for recognition of the sacrifices of the Maryland Line with the Governor. We must ensure that they are never forgotten. If I may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at 410-767-4500.
Wendi W. Peters
Bill Hughes is an attorney, author, actor and photographer. His latest book is “Byline Baltimore.” It can be found at: https://www.amazon.com/William-Hughes/e/B00N7MGPXO/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1