Salve Regina University
Salve Regina University. Photo Credit: Salve Regina University

Salve Regina University’s Cultural and Historic Preservation program has been awarded a $39,000 grant from the National Park Service to conduct a site documentation project on an historic battlefield in South Carolina. The grant, administered by the NPS’s Battlefield Protection Program, is one of 20 awarded nationally, totaling $1.2 million, to support work that safeguards and preserves significant American battlefield lands for present and future generations.

Salve Regina students in the CHP program will conduct a site documentation project for the Sadkeche Fight, a battle associated with the little-known Yamasee War (1715-1717) in South Carolina, giving them a unique opportunity to contribute to a real world, federally funded preservation project.

“No one has ever located a battlefield from the Yamasee War, and unlike the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, we do not have a great deal of historical records to rely upon,” said Assistant Professor Dr. Jon Marcoux, who applied for the grant. “There is a lot of work to do, and Salve students will play a central part in the project, which is very much in line with our program’s emphasis on hands-on learning. There is no better teacher than experience.”

Marcoux and his students will conduct research with a wide variety of historical documents in order to find contemporary accounts of the battle, and will also search for historical maps of the region where the battle was fought. They will then use Geographic Information System software to match historic maps with modern maps.

The goal is to identify the probable location of where the Sadkeche Fight occurred. “This sets up a future project where we actually go out and try to find physical evidence of the battle in the form of early 18th century military artifacts like musket balls, gun parts, buckles, etc.,” Marcoux said. “Once we find the actual battlefield location, we can begin to take steps to protect it through community outreach and engagement.”

The project highlights the important relationship between archaeology, history, geography and historic preservation. “The CHP program at Salve is unique in that we emphasize the poly-disciplinary nature of cultural and historic preservation,” Marcoux said. “Through this project, the students will see how these disciplines work together to gain a better understanding of our past, as well as to protect that past for future generations.”

The American Battlefield Protection Program funds projects conducted by federal, state, local and tribal governments, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. This year’s grants provide funding for projects at endangered battlefields from the Hawaiian Civil Wars, Indian Wars, Revolutionary War, French and Indian War, World War II, War of 1812, and the Civil War. Since 1990, the ABPP and its partners have helped to protect and enhance more than 100 battlefields by co-sponsoring 559 projects in 42 states and territories totaling $18,442,955 in federal grant money.

In 2015, Salve Regina students partnered with the Middletown (RI) Historical Society on an NPS-funded project to define in detail the location of Colonial and British fortifications involved in the siege of Newport. The French Navy and a Colonial army, under the command of Generals Sullivan, Lafayette, and Greene, attacked the British defensive positions using canon fire and trench warfare in one of the largest military operations of the Revolution, and the first combined French-Colonial offensive of the war. This project is ongoing through summer 2017.