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Prison Ship Martyrs Monument

About this listing

Memorial to American Revolutionary War prisoners

Place Details

Borough : Brooklyn
Neighborhood : Fort Greene
Public Art, Revolutionary War in NYC, Historic Site & Museum

Place Matters Profile

A visual focal point of the Fort Greene community since it was added to Fort Greene Park in 1908, the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument was created to memorialize and entomb the remains of Revolutionary War soldiers who died on British Prison Ships.

The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument is an imposing 200-foot Doric column designed by the well-known architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White. Erected in 1908, the monument had been planned as early as 1855 when the "Martyrs' Memorial Association" was first established. A place for the monument, including the creation of a grand staircase and crypt, was included in Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux's 1868 plan for Fort Greene Park, but it was not fully realized for another 40 years. This long process was perhaps partly due to the controversial nature of the monument, which honored common mariners rather than a famous military leader. Once the monument...

Read More


Cray, Robert E., Jr. "Commemorating the Prison Ship Dead: Revolutionary Memory and the Politics of Sepulture in the Early Republic, 1776-1808." The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Volume 56, Issue 3, July 1999.

United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service. "National Register of Historic Places Inventory--Nomination Form." Fort Greene Historic District.

On The Web

NYC Parks & Rec article
Fort Green Park Conservancy article


Anonymous Nominator

Nominated through the Central Brooklyn Community Focus project.

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