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From "The WPA Guide to New York City"

The Prison Ship Martyrs' Monment in Fort Greene Park, Myrtle Avenue and Cumberland Street, designed by Stanford White and dedicated in 1908, rises high above the surrounding plateau and is reached from the street level by a 100-foot-wide stone stairway broken into three flights. the 145-foot fluted granite shaft, supporting a large bronze urn, commemorates the 11,000 patriots who died aboard British prison ships in Wallabout Bay on the site of the Navy Yard during the Revolutionary War. The maltreatment of these prisoners on such infamous hulks as the Jersey and the Whitby, commanded by the notorious Provost Marshal Cunningham, is recognized as a black mark in British colonial history. Prisoners died from starvation and disease, flogging and other forms of violence, and were buried, usually by their fellow prisoners, in the sands of the bay. Remains of these bodies, found from time to time, were placed in the monument's crypt.

During the Revolution the park site was occupied by Fort Putnam, one of the chain of forts used by Washington in the Battle of Long Island. A garrison was stationed there from 1812 to 1815, and the fort renamed for General Greene. The name was changed to Washington Park in 1847 and some time later to Fort Greene Park.