Just as investigators at a crime scene have to find different pieces of evidence and compare them in order to solve a crime, historians also have to find and compare pieces of evidence, called primary sources, in order to come to their conclusions about what happened in the past. This process is called corroboration.
Corroboration means considering important details across multiple sources to determine points of agreement and disagreement.
In this activity, we are going to look at two sources about George Rogers Clark’s journey to Fort Sackville in February of 1779. The first source is Clark’s Memoir and the second source is Captain Bowman’s Journal.
Captain Joseph Bowman was Clark’s second-in-command during the journey to Fort Sackville. Along the trip, Bowman kept a Field Journal, making almost daily notes about the weather and the troops’ movements. Unlike Clark’s Memoir, which was written several years after the trip, Bowman’s Journal records events as they are happening.
At the end, it will be up to you to decide how closely the two sources corroborate (verify or support) each other.