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Halves of the battle: Borough’s two Battle of Brooklyn celebrations

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Photo gallery

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Colonial clad: JC Rojas came out to catch a glimpse of the re-enactors clad in colonial-era duds.
2/12
Band together: Brooklynites from across the borough made it out to celebrate the Battle of Brooklyn.
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March on: The parade continues up Battle Avenue in Green-Wood Cemetery.
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History buff: Aidan Murray anxiously awaited the start of the parade.
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Row, row, row your boat: Yeegee Cheng was part of a group of rowers from the Village Community Boat House on Pier 40 who paddled for more than two hours to make it over to Denyse Wharf for its Battle of Brooklyn anniversary event on Aug. 27.
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Deep dive: Gene Ritter educated vistors on the history of the Verrazano-Narrows with artifacts he recovered from the deep.
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Back in action: Re-enactor Michael Callahan portrayed an officer in the first regiment of foot guards at the wharf, where British troops kicked off the Battle of Brooklyn back in 1776.
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Shore explorers: Mark Weiss and his daughter Abagail explored the beach of Denyse Wharf, which is typically closed to the public.
9/12
Bringing history to life: Re-enactor Muriel Roberts dressed up as a woman from the colonial era.
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Open air classroom: Local kids learned about canons and Revolutionary-era alterity.
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Dressing up history: Re-enactor Leon Vaughan dressed up as one of “Glover’s Marbleheaders” — one of America’s first racially integrated fighting forces.
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Patriots: The marching band prepares for the parade up Battle Avenue in Green-Wood Cemetry for the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn on Aug 28.

Brooklyn celebrated falling to the Redcoats at two events marking the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn on Aug. 27.

First, reenactors exchanged musket and cannon fire in Green-Wood Cemetery, where British soldiers thoroughly routed Gen. George Washington’s troops and forced his retreat to Manhattan during the Revolutionary War on Aug. 27, 1776. And the not-so-live ammunition really made history come to life, one attendee said.

“You can read about the history in a book, but when you see it and are living it, you have a better understanding of the history,” said Donna Murray who took her 10-year-old son Adian to the celebration. “My son absolutely loved it. He made us come back a day early from vacation for it.”

The day began with a trolley tour of the graveyard’s Revolutionary War-related sites. Crowds enjoyed parades, battle re-enactments, meeting famous colonial Americans, and colonial-style grub at the graveyard, including Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for vanilla ice cream whipped up by local food historian Sarah Lohman.

Further south, history buffs highlighted black soldiers’ contributions to the Revolutionary War at Denyse Wharf — the site where British and Hessian troops first landed in Brooklyn.

Reenactors dressed as mariners of Colonel Glover’s Marble Headers taught visitors about the little-known-but-crucial all-black unit that helped Washington escape. Marble Headers laid down their lives nearly 100 years before emancipation to keep invaders busy while Washington fled — an act of selflessness that must never be forgotten, one reenactor said.

“It’s not in the average history text book, that’s why we give up our time, our energy, and our money to tell our story,” said Leon Vaughan of the historical group Sable Soldiers of the American Revolution.

The Waterfront Alliance and Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) sponsored the Narrows-adjacent party, and members of the Village Community Boat House gave free boat rides while marine educators discussed the area’s nautical history.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 5:54 am, August 30, 2016
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