7-15-11: The Maryland 400
This conversation originally aired November 10, 2010.
On August 27, 1776, the British attacked New York–the first big battle of the Revolutionary War. American forces in what is now Brooklyn were greatly outnumbered. General George Washington could envision near total slaughter of his 13,000 men. He ordered a retreat.
Soldiers from Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland stayed back to provide cover. Eventually, all of those men, except for about 400 Marylanders, also were ordered to retreat.
Those left would be buried in a mass grave and go down in history as the “Maryland 400.”
This line of Maryland soldiers–the “old line,” which gave us our state nickname –were outnumbered 5 to 1. They fought bravely, but were decimated.
George Washington watched from afar as his army retreated behind the Maryland 400’s cover. “Good God!” he said. “What brave fellows I must this day lose.”
Linda Davis Reno asked herself that question when she first heard the story. She went on to write a book called The Maryland 400 in the Battle of Long Island, 1776.
Sheilah talks to Linda Davis Reno and former New York Assemblyman Joe Ferris, who organizes an annual parade in Brooklyn that honors the Maryland 400.
The annual commemoration ceremony for the Battle of Brooklyn takes place August 28 in Greenwood Cemetery.