From this lofty perch the eye of the commander (General George Washington) swept the field, and gathered up its various tokens of disaster. "Good God!" he cryed; "what brave fellows I must lose this day"! as he saw the young Marylanders fling themselves again and again upon the enemy."
“Within the lines of the entrenchments”, says Field “two other fortifications had been constructed to command important points. One of these was erected upon a conical hill called Ponkiesberg. Which rose in such prominent and well defined outline from nearby plane surface, as to excite the query if it was not the work of human hands. It occupied the western half of the block bounded by Atlantic, Pacific, Court and Clinton Streets, and it’s elevation above the present grade was from sixty to eighty feet.” “The work mounted four guns, and from it’s central interior position could have prevented the enemy from securing a foothold on the peninsular in the rear or flank of the main line in case they effected a landing back of Red Hook or crossed the Gowanus Creek above”
The above quotes were taken from "The Heroes of the American Revolution and their Descendants, Battle of Long Island" by Henry Whittemore 1897
|Detail from a map that was posted on the Brooklyn Historical society blog. I found this visual depiction of the hill in the center of the map quite compelling. The hill stood out as a unique feature in the landscape. It looks like a tall round mound with tress all around it. It is curious to note that Mr. Bergan has spelled it "Punkins Barach". Not sure where this spelling comes from. The map is said to be a copied from a much older map. For more information about this map, the original blog post is Here-http://brooklynhistory.org/blog/2012/02/06/map-of-the-month-february-2012/|
|The image above is from 1922 and shows the intersection of Atlantic Ave and Court Street. As you can see the hill has been leveled, and is long gone. I have read that this was done by the occupying British army in the 1780's.But below there is a reference to a later fort from 1812 era. I have found it hard to construct a firm time line for events from this period. This photo is interesting because it shows the structures that were there before the present Brooklyn Savings Bank building. Today the building is occupied by a Trader Joe's.The buildings in the photo look like they date back a good 75 years, dating the structures to the 1840's. It was around this time that the street grid was formally laid out.The image was taken from the New York Public Library web site found here|
|Today A kiosk marks the spot in front of Trader Joe's. Nighttime photo from iPhone.|
|"Corkscrew fort, a small redoubt upon an eminence near the Brooklyn Athenaeum* of today, commanding Red Hook Lane, and meant for it's defence in case the enemy should cross Gowanus Creek. Tradition says the the redoubt was sixty or seventy feet above the present street grade of Atlantic Avenue at this point."|
My wide angle pinhole image of the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street, Brooklyn New York. From this prospective you can get a feel as to how high the original hill was. Local folklore has it that the hill was as high as the top of the flag pole. The fort got the name "Corkscrew" because of the way the pathway spiraled up to the top of the mound.
|Image taken with my 1920's era Kodak Brownie No2|
|Close up of the flag pole. Image taken with my 1920's era Kodak Brownie No2|
*=See this article in in brownstoner blog for more information about the Brooklyn Athenaeum. http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2010/08/walkabout-the-b-3/#athenaeum-1-1