2. Former Red Lion Inn

There’s a mostly forgotten, undeveloped little outcropping of Green-Wood Cemetery that also holds some great Revolutionary War history: the beginning of the Battle of Brooklyn. In this rectangular plot of land, which contains maintenance facilities and a garage right alongside existing gravestones, once stood the Red Lion Inn. The inn was situated at the junction of three country roads: Martense Lane, the Narrows Road, and Gowanus Road. The first two are still noted with street signs inside this portion of Green-Wood Cemetery. There isn’t any record of what the Red Lion Inn looked like unfortunately, but it was likely similar to other roadside country inns on Long Island, built of wood.

On August 27, 1776, in a push towards capturing Brooklyn Heights, the British attacked American pickets defending the Red Lion Inn, commencing the Battle of Brooklyn. The Americans were pushed back up Gowanus Road, from where they were assisted by Birgadier General William Alexander Lord Stirling and the Delaware Regiment. The American pickets from Red Lion found safety at Brooklyn Heights. There is a plaque on the site here in Green-Wood Cemetery presented by the citizens of the state of Delaware in honor of the Delaware Regiment:

“Outnumbered four to one, and nearly encircled, Stirling ordered the Delaware Regiment to make a fighting retreat. With colors flying they made an orderly withdrawal, and against great odds, crossed Gowanus Creek, to safety. Following the battle the regiment’s commander reported two men killed and 24 missing, being captured, killed, or drowned during crossing. Noted for its discipline and bravery, the Delaware Regiment continued to serve with distinction throughout the war.”