September 10, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Mauriel Joslyn was born in Manchester, Georgia. She grew up in Harris County, in West Georgia, and her roots go back to the settlers of that part of Georgia. Influenced by family stories of all the kin who had fought for the Confederacy, an interest in the war appeared early on, coinciding with Centennial Celebrations. She attended Southern Seminary Jr. College in Buena Vista, Virginia because she wanted to be near battlefields and continue exploring her interest. In 1978, she obtained a History Degree from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va. and picked up a husband along the way who attended VMI at the same time she was in college. They shared an intense interest in the war, and spent many years actively re-enacting during the 125th and 135th commemorations across the country. They have 2 sons who have also had a love of history.
Moving back to Georgia she and Rick purchased an 1822 house in Sparta, Ga. She pursued a writing career and her first book was Immortal Captives: The Story of 600 Confederate Officers and the US Prisoner of War policy. The topic of Prisoners of War had very limited research, and much of her book is original in its sources.
The Immortal 600 refers to a group of Confederate officers who were chosen in August 1864 to be used as human shields. This was in response to a stalemate in Charleston Harbor as Union warships could not break the Fort Sumter defense to take the city. For 6 weeks they were held under the fire of the Confederate guns at Sumter firing at Union batteries at Fort Wagner on Morris Island. The palisade enclosure where they were kept was located under the Union guns as protection from Sumter’s guns. Many shells fell in the prisoner compound. They were later moved to Fort Pulaski outside Savannah, Ga. That fort was in Union hands. Here they were subjected to starvation rations and no medical treatment as retaliation for reports of shortages in Confederate prisons. They remained here until March 1865, then returned to Fort Delaware until the war ended.
Mrs. Joslyn’s research is based on primary documents, diaries, US Congressional debates, letters and a few memoirs written by men on both sides after the war. It is a compelling story of courage, faith, and endurance.