On August 27, 1776, during the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Brooklyn, things looked dire indeed for the Americans, as the British and Hessians were overwhelming them in what is now the northern section of Prospect Park. Hoping to reach forts at Boerum Hill and Fort Greene, about 900 American troops retreated from what would today be the Greenwood Cemetery area (there are markers delineating the exact areas on Prospect Park’s East Drive); they hoped to track northward. General William Alexander, also known as Lord Stirling, led a company of 400 Maryland troops that engaged British General Charles Cornwallis’ force of 2000 grenadiers and cannoneers at the Old Stone House (the site of today’s J.J. Byrne Park in Park Slope) to cover the retreat and, while many of the Americans were able to escape, Stirling was captured and 259 of the Maryland troops were killed. George Washington, observing the battle from what is now Cobble Hill, is said to have uttered: “What brave fellows I must this day lose.”
The Maryland Monument, a simple granite shaft with a sphere at its apex designed by Stanford White, is at the foot of Lookout Hill in Prospect Park at the bottom of a staircase along Wellhouse Drive in a relatively inconspicuous area. It is a tribute to the Maryland regiment. It was erected August 17, 1895, at the 119th anniversary of the battle.