The greatest suffering in the cause of American liberty was endured in the prison ships in Wallabout Bay. Estimates of the dead from the prison ships exceed 11,000 -- nearly triple the 4,400 Americans who died in all the battles of the revolution.
The Wallabout Martyrs
by Walt Whitman
[In Brooklyn, in an old vault, mark'd by no special recognition,
lie huddled at this moment the undoubtedly authentic remains of the
stanchest and earliest revolutionary patriots from the British
prison ships and prisons of the times of 1776-83, in and around New
York, and from all over Long Island; originally buried - many
thousands of them - in trenches in the Wallabout sands.]
GREATER than memory of Achilles or Ulysses,
More, more by far to thee than tomb of Alexander,
Those cart loads of old charnel ashes, scales and splints of mouldy
Once living men - once resolute courage, aspiration, strength,
The stepping stones to thee to-day and here, America.