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The Great Fire of 1776

February 15th , 6:00pm 7:00pm

1776 fire drawing

It’s New York City, summer of 1776, and an unruly rebel army under General George Washington’s command repeatedly threatened to burn the city rather than let it fall into the hands of the British. In August, after the patriot’s defeat at the Battle of Brooklyn (a good part of which was fought across what is now The Green-Wood Cemetery), Washington makes a miraculous escape with his army across the East River to Manhattan.The British capture New York City, then much of it mysteriously burned to the ground.

Price: $9, and $4 for members.

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In his recently published book, The Great New York Fire of 1776: A Lost Story of the American Revolution, Benjamin L. Carp explores that fire and why its origins remained a mystery even after the British investigated it in 1776 and 1783. 

Uncovering stories of espionage, terror, and radicalism, Carp paints a vivid picture of the chaos, passions, and unresolved tragedies that define a historical moment we usually associate with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Join us for a conversation between Professor Carp and Green-Wood Historian Jeff Richman about this little-known, but important, event.

Benjamin L. Carp, PhD, is a history professor at CUNY Brooklyn College. His focus is on urban politics, society, and culture in eighteenth-century America, a period about which he has written several books.