It was 240 years ago this week that some 15,000 British soldiers landed on the shores of what is now Brooklyn and, over the course of several days, thoroughly routed General George Washington's colonial army. In fact, were it not for a gutsy counterattack at the Old Stone House by the fabled Maryland 400, who held off the redcoats just long enough for around 8,000 rebels (and Washington himself) to escape to Brooklyn Heights, General William Howe might have won the war right then and there.

Yesterday afternoon about two dozen Revolutionary War reenactors gathered at Green-Wood Cemetery, the site of the colonial troops' surrender, for the annual Battle of Brooklyn commemoration. In front of a sweaty but appreciative crowd these men and women in period dress exchanged musket- and cannon-fire, and demonstrated behind-the-lines life for a soldier of the late 1770s. They also patiently posed for pictures and answered a million questions.

As in years past, the rifles and cannon were alarmingly loud at times, and the fallen troops prompted many conversations about guns and death and war between parents and their young children.

After the reenactment came the more celebratory Battle of Brooklyn Parade, led by the Merchant Marine Academy band, in which everyone was encouraged to grab a Revolutionary regiment flag and march up to Battle Hill.