Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tour of Evergreen Cemetery-The English Army's End Run

"On the night of August 26, 1776 a British force of about 14,000 moved in silence along The Kings Highway in a move to encircle the American defenders. The British forced Howard and his son to lead their troops through an obscure trail, still visible in the Cemetery, around the pass to the road leading to Bedford Village. At daybreak on the 27th, the British swept down the road from Bedford to attack the American positions from behind. At the same time, a second force of redcoats and Hessians charged the front of the American line. The Americans were routed and fled back to the safety of Brooklyn Heights." Text from Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey more info here.

One of the great things about cemeteries is that they become sort of a time capsule. In fact that is an essential  element of a cemetery, "a final resting place". Time is frozen and change happens slowly. The land is preserved. Two great examples of this, Evergreen and Greenwood cemeteries are in Brooklyn. Today they are the best preserved landscape from the "Battle of Long Island"era.

As part of "Battle Week", several tours of the grounds were offered. I was able to attend the Evergreen tour and was glad I did. The tour was conducted by Anthony Salamone, a cemetery employee and local historian. This area of Brooklyn in 1776 was the location of Howard's Inn or Half Way House. It is located on the Jamaica Road half way from the town of Jamaica to the ferry landing near the present day Brooklyn Bridge. It was known that the British Army detoured around Jamaica pass using an old Indian trail. The location of this trail was not known and lost to history. Anthony was the principal player that re discovered the trail using old burial maps and his own military back ground. Today the trail is marked by following a grassy path in between the graves. The path is called the Rockaway Foot Path. Native Americans used this trail for travel and trading with other tribes for hundreds of years. Please follow this link to the Evergreen web page for excellent detailed article.

Photographing this project was not successful. I used my Holga 120N and my Holga WPC wide angle pinhole camera. I used a red filter on the Holga 120N but forgot to compensate with the exposure. I had it set to "sunny" when I should of had it set to "cloudy". That opens the F-stop 1 stop or so. As a result not many pictures turned out well. I was also cursed with a light leak coming from inside the camera. That has been now corrected with some black tape over some screw holes. The other pinhole camera camera had problems. When I opened it up to change film, the roll wasn't wound tight enough. So I ended up with light leaks on the film edges.
My goal for this project was to get shots of the trail and I was also hoping to find  panoramic open views of the city. There are views of the Jamaica Bay area and Manhattan, but do to all the tress it was hard to find an unobstructed view. Maybe I will go back in the late fall and re-shoot when the leaves are down.

This is the pathway that the British army used to climb over the ridge. It is not very long or very steep. Its a shallow pass over the steep terminal moraine that was formed in Brooklyn during the last ice age. Its a much gentler grade to march army's of men and wagons the other places near by.

Here is a view looking down the pass. This is the hidden trail that the Howard's lead the British army on. Thus by passing the main road at Jamaica Pass.
A view of the pathway as it meanders through the rolling hills.

More excellent text and details on the Evergreen web site here.

A wide angle pinhole shot looking up the shallow pass.
Area of Howard's Inn on the Jamaica Road.

Howard's Inn 2011 landscape.

Thank you to the staff of Evergreen Cemetery and to Anthony Salamone

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