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Essays over the battle of brooklyn heights

McCarthy We are gathered today in the presence of the Roman goddess, Minerva, beside the Altar of Liberty on which she rests her palm. To the Romans, the root of her name, Men- meant mind, and to the Greeks, memory.

And that is why we are here today — to remember. Our Minerva faces another statue, across the water, the Statue of Liberty, and where Minerva wore many hats, she only wears one, a crown, but what she holds high is the flame of Liberty. Look at her out there.

Which way does she face?

The Battle of Brooklyn, August 27, 1776

It is a good question for parlor games. Does she face the Narrows, to welcome immigrants who gave up everything to be free?

  • Our task, as Minerva here directs us, is to remember this;
  • Many reckon that the American defeat at Long Island was attributed to splitting the army in two, between Manhattan and Long Island;
  • He made preparations to defend the city.

Does she face Manhattan, the greatest city in the world? Does she face New Jersey? No, she faces east, some say toward France, her home — but others believe she is looking at this hillside, where, on August 27th, 1776, the embers of the American Revolution burst into flame. She knew, and she remembers. I believe that it is no accident she faces us. When Lady Liberty arrived here in 1885, there could be no question where she should face: We are gathered today to remember the Battle of Brooklyn, and to mourn and honor the 1100 men who were killed or captured during the battle.

We are also here to remember, mourn and honor the men captured throughout the war who were imprisoned on miserable, stinking ships just up the East River; men who were starved and beaten; men who when they died were tossed into the river to be forgotten.

We do not forget them. They came together, as Americans, to defend the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration was seven weeks old then. It had been read aloud in New York for the first time on July 9th, just six weeks before the battle. The ink was barely dry, yet these men heard the call, and answered it. The Continental Congress had promised General Washington 50,000 soldiers. Only about 15,000 had materialized by mid-August, and 3000 of those were sick from bad water, bad food, and whatever else got passed around in makeshift campsites.

Across the harbor on Staten Island, the British, led by General William Howe and his brother Admiral Lord Howe, had landed 35,000 soldiers and sailors, brought by 450 ships that included 74 ships of the line, each carrying more that 60 cannon. They came to put down revolution.

The details of the Battle are familiar to many of you: But the British did not succeed in their goal of destroying the American army. On the second night after the battle, under cover of fog and darkness and in total silence, General Washington moved his remaining army of 9000 men, all their supplies and weapons, and all their horses, across the East River and escaped.

They would fight again. More than a month later, when the news of the Battle of Brooklyn had crossed the Atlantic, the Times of London reported on it, and noted that this escape was important, and that it did not bode well for any quick defeat of the Americans.

  1. I believe that it is no accident she faces us. Retracing the historic locations of the battle of brooklyn although a mechanized lift bridge now crosses over the gowanus canal at union street as american soldiers attempted to retreat to brooklyn heights, the wooden bridge caught fire, forcing the soldiers to wade through the river.
  2. Recorded history organizes our memory and helps us understand events. Only about 15,000 had materialized by mid-August, and 3000 of those were sick from bad water, bad food, and whatever else got passed around in makeshift campsites.
  3. The Continental Congress had promised General Washington 50,000 soldiers. Sullivan barely managed to evacuate the bulk of his troops to Brooklyn Heights before he was captured.
  4. He was an Irish immigrant, an entrepreneur and a civic leader here in Brooklyn. However, after the British gained the main pass, they attacked Stirling from the left.
  5. Stirling stayed back with 400 Maryland troops and ordered the rest to retreat to the Brooklyn Heights while those who remained bought by holding back the British and delayed their forward movement. His first great success in business came from the manufacture of India Ink, which was used in pens and on presses throughout the world.

For three and a half hours, they discussed how to avoid what was about to become a terrible war. The only solution the Howe brothers had to offer was to give the Americans the chance to lay down their arms and pledge allegiance to the crown. The Americans declined, politely. They stood firm for freedom of speech, for freedom of assembly, for freedom of religion, and for the right to choose their leaders freely.

Our task, as Minerva here directs us, is to remember this. We must retell the story constantly to remember it; our children must hear it, and so must their children. Recorded history organizes our memory and helps us understand events. It preserves what aging minds forget, what new generations push aside. We have seen that the story history tells can change. Holding history up to the light reveals its flaws, its fabrications, and its failures: We revise history not to make it prettier; we do so to make it more precise and more useful.

One keeper of the flame, a man who, over a hundred years ago, remembered, is here in spirit: He was an Irish immigrant, an entrepreneur and a civic leader here in Brooklyn. His first great success in business came from the manufacture of India Ink, which was used in pens and on presses throughout the world.

Minerva, goddess of commerce, would have approved. It was he who ordered the sculpture of Minerva and the Altar of Liberty.

It was he who lobbied city government to dig up the Old Stone House — which had been buried during the development of Park Slope — to create a park commemorating the battle, an effort that eventually succeeded. Our country is founded on some very basic principles, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All men created equal.

  1. Generosity is part of our national DNA. Stirling, who was defending the western front, managed to successfully thwart British attacks.
  2. Recorded history organizes our memory and helps us understand events. No, she faces east, some say toward France, her home — but others believe she is looking at this hillside, where, on August 27th, 1776, the embers of the American Revolution burst into flame.
  3. However, given the lack of naval forces, he was faced with an uphill task of defending the city surrounded by water. During the planning, Washington believed that the British attack on Long Island would only be a distraction, so he directed the main army to remain in Manhattan.

In expressing their courage, the men who fought for these ideals — and the women who made it possible for that to happen — were willing to give up their lives. Generosity is part of our national DNA.

  • Many reckon that the American defeat at Long Island was attributed to splitting the army in two, between Manhattan and Long Island;
  • Fierce combat took a heavy toll on both the British and Americans at the front line;
  • The intent was to block the path to Brooklyn Heights;
  • Major General Nathanael Greene was to lead the troops who were in Long Island, but he became ill a few days before the battle;
  • Not a single life was lost during the maneuver;
  • Despite persuasions to leave the city, Washington insisted on staying to defend the city since he believed that is played a major political role.

We have cherished and strengthened them for 240 years. As has been often said, the Declaration of Independence was signed in ink in Philadelphia, and signed in blood in Brooklyn. I think they would be immensely proud to know what has arisen from the bloody foundation they put down.