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Prison Ship Martyrs Monument

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  • Peter Hench (c.1758 - c.1778)
  • Johann Heinrich Hench (1756 - c.1778)
  • Second Lieut. Thomas Ryerson (1753 - 1835)
    Reference: Find A Grave Memorial - SmartCopy : Jul 7 2019, 7:59:12 UTC "Born 12 Nov, 1753 at South Branch, Somerset County, New Jersey. Died 2 Oct, 1835 at Chester, Pennsylvania. Began his service ...
  • Lt. Col. Thomas Bull (1744 - 1837)
    Thomas Bull was a Patriot in the American Revolutionary war from Pennsylvania. His DAR Ancestor # is A016799 Bull, who was born in Montgomery County, acquired more than 500 acres of land in 1783 with t...
  • James Banks (1747 - 1844)
    escaped from the Wallabout Bay prison ships: see:

Prison Ship Martyrs Monument

  • coordinates: 40° 41' 30" N. 073° 58' 32" W. Google Map
  • Feature Class: Park. Park: Fort Greene Park. Location: Myrtle to Dekalb Avenues, Edwards and Cumberland Streets
  • County: Kings. City: New York. Borough: Brooklyn. State: NY (New York) Country: US (United States)

Please add profiles to this project (actions menu > add profiles) of anyone associated with the memorial, but not the soldiers interred in the crypt; they are to be added to the related project, Crypt for the Prison Ship Martyrs. See "notables" section. Profiles must be set to "public."


The Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument in Fort Greene Park, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, is a memorial to the more than 11,500 American prisoners of war who died in captivity aboard sixteen British prison ships during the American Revolutionary War. The remains of a small fraction of those who died on the ships are interred in a crypt beneath its base. The ships included the HMS Jersey, the Scorpion, the Hope, the Falmouth, the Stromboli, Hunter, and others.

Long after the war ended, the bones of the dead, who had been buried in shallow graves along the East River, washed up on the shores of Brooklyn. Residents collected them and eventually created an initial memorial in the early 19th century at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for those who perished aboard the prison ships.

In 1867, Olmsted, Vaux & Company, redesigned Fort Greene Park, and installed a crypt for the remains of the prison ship victims in a stone wall, halfway up the stairs that now face the Fort Greene housing projects.

In the first decade of the 20th century, McKim, Mead, and White was commissioned to create an obelisk in tribute. In 1908, President Taft traveled to Fort Greene for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

A plaque was added in 1960 located across from the front label on the monument. The plaque reads:

In memory of the 11,500 patriotic American sailors and soldiers who endured untold suffering and died on the prison British ships anchored in Wallabout Bay during the Revolutionary War 1776- 1782. Their remains lie buried in the crypt at the base of this monument which was dedicated on November 14, 1908. This plaque was afforded by The Society of Old Brooklynites on June 1, 1960. Farelly Crane M.D. President.


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The United States House of Representatives passed legislation on April 28, 2014 to authorize a $150,000 study to determine if turning the memorial into a national monument would be feasible.


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Crypt for the Prison Ship Martyrs

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