Research Goals

II. Research Goals

The Battle of Chemung and the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign were important parts of the American Revolution and the general history of America's relationship with Native Americans. This significance is gaining recognition in the local community, and serving as a point of pride in local community identity. The project's overall goal is to develop a preservation plan for the battlefield as a whole in consideration of specific features and the entire landscape. To achieve this goal, researchers have formulated a set of research goals for this project, and have identified additional goals for future research. Those research goals used for the present research have helped in the identification of historical archives and documents related to the Battle of Chemung, the identification of defining features, and an initial assessment of the integrity and context of the battlefield's defining features and general landscape.

2.1 Identification of Archives and Collections

The first goal of this stage of research was the identification of archives and collections holding historic materials related to the Battle of Chemung and the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign. This identification established a foundation for research, allowing researchers to quickly access relevant records. The documents, images, and letters related to the Battle of Chemung are divided among different institutions and archives. Many documents are part of larger collections with little separation of items related to the Sullivan-Clinton campaign. Our identification of the different institutions and archives with materials related to the campaign noted where in the primary collections Sullivan-Clinton and Chemung materials could be found. This aided our research by allowing a means to prioritize research and efficiently access the materials most helpful to our study; it also establishes a central reference for researchers to use in future studies of this battle and campaign.

2.2 Diverse Perspectives of the Battle

Another main goal was to move our research beyond a basic review of historic documents to gain a more inclusive study of the Battle of Chemung. Research teams reviewed more than the Continental accounts of the battle and included those of British officers, loyalist rangers (Col. Butler), and Native Americans (Capt. Joseph Brant). The inclusion of these accounts provided multiple views of the battlefield. What little historic discussion there is on the Battle of Chemung mostly comes from the Continental's point of view. By accessing the records of British officers, officials, their Loyalist and Native American allies, we were able to better identify who participated in the battle and what were their views of the battle. It also helped to identify the different defining features for each side and how different troops and the opposing sides used alternate features or the same feature in alternate ways. We also collaborated with Native American historians to incorporate a Native American perspective on the campaign and battle. The American Revolution divided loyalties among Native American Nations, and the consequences of the war had a devastating effect on Native American communities, which has persisted in memory through to the present. Native American perspectives may not provide detailed descriptions of the Battle of Chemung and its landscape, but they do provide an important component of history rarely written about the Sullivan-Clinton campaign and its effects on the Confederacy, its constituent nations, and individuals.

2.3 Defining Features of the Battlefield

A goal building on the historic research was to use the associated documents to identify the defining features of the battlefield according to KOCOA standards. KOCOA is an application of military terrain analysis and an acronym categorized as Key Terrain, Observation and fields of fire, Cover and concealment, Obstacles, and Avenues of Approach and Retreat. The categorization of the battle's defining features provides standardization in the interpretation of the battle's flow and its landscape. Researchers determined the general locations of defining features by reviewing historical texts, oral histories, and maps. Field survey and GIS analysis helped to refine the perception of how the troops used these features, most specifically by interpreting firing ranges of weaponry probably used during the battle. Changes in the landscape noted by identification of disturbance noticed on the landscape's surface and by using historic maps that post date the battle allowed an initial assessment of the features' integrity. The characterization of these features using a KOCOA analysis allowed researchers to determine what function each feature had in the battle and how each feature influenced the course of the battle. These features were then initially mapped into a geographic information system (GIS) for review on the actual relation to the present landscape. This information allowed us to prioritize features that we were able to map in the current landscape. We followed the initial mapping with a field map survey, in which field teams walked portions of the battlefield mapping those landmarks and features present in the current landscape that related to the identified defining features of the battlefield.

2.4 Identifying the Boundaries of the Battlefield

The mapping and further analysis in the GIS allowed us to achieve our last research goal for this project - identifying the overall boundaries of the battle and its defining features. Contextual information on the defining features allows an evaluation of defining feature boundaries, as well as the boundaries for the study area, core area, and potential National Register area. All this information still requires a "ground truthing" or archeological field survey to more accurately determine the integrity of the major defining features and answer questions related to the history of the battle.

2.5 Research Design and Future Preservation Planning

Future research goals move beyond the research established in this report. This report details the battle's defining features and prioritizes them according to their influence on the battle and initial integrity assessment. The next step is to use this priority classification to determine further research questions. The primary one is the determination of integrity of battlefield deposits associated with the defining features as identified by the presence of subfeatures (trenches, postholes, or fire pits) and concentrations of battle related artifacts in a spatial pattern reflective of troop positions or movements during the battle. More specific research questions for future research are presented in Section 8.2.