Happy Independence Day! I never do much for the Fourth of July (possibly because I seem to be abroad for a lot of them), but I find the history to be very interesting, particularly since I am living on the site of the Battle of Brooklyn. Brooklyn doesn’t get a lot of attention for its role in the American Revolution, but it was the location of the first major battle of the war following the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
In August 1776, British forces came to New York to try to trap George Washington’s troops, which had been entrenched in Manhattan and Brooklyn since earlier in the year. The British engaged and surrounded the Americans on the heights of the Gowanus, with the Americans having to retreat to Brooklyn Heights. The British were ready to continue the battle as a seige on the main forces there, however, Washington and his troops held their ground until night and then escaped from the city in the darkness.
Part of the Battle of Brooklyn took place in what is now Green-Wood Cemetery, and a statue of Minerva with an Altar of Liberty stands in commemoration. Her arm is stretched out in a gesture to the State of Liberty, who returns her gaze from the harbor.