4. Revolutionary War Historic Site

Statue to Minerva

In the days of the Revolutionary War, the area which Green-Wood Cemetery occupies was the site of a major battle in 1776: The Battle of Brooklyn, also known as the Battle of Long Island. The first major battle fought after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, this area was strategically important in defending New York.

After a successful attempt to drive the Continental Army out of Manhattan, the British forced the Patriots to retreat to Brooklyn Heights. On August 27, 1776, the British attacked American pickets defending the local Red Lion Inn, in an attempt to capture Brooklyn Heights, commencing the Battle of Brooklyn. However, not to be defeated or slaughtered on the battlefield, Brigadier General Williams Alexander Sterling and the Delaware Regiment made a fighting retreat, and against all odds made it safely across the Gowanus Creek with only 2 men killed and 24 missing.

The Altar to Liberty in Green-Wood, located at the highest point in Brooklyn, the top of Battle Hill, is dedicated to the Battle of Brooklyn. The monument is the Roman goddess Minerva laying a wreath on top of an altar.

Additionally, each year, Green-Wood holds a reenactment of the Battle Brooklyn, honoring the cemetery’s historic past.

To read more about this historic event, check out Green-Wood Cemetery’s Revolutionary War Past