This is the companion website for Prison Pens: Gender, Memory, and Imprisonment in the Writings of Mollie Scollay and Wash Nelson, 1863-1866 (University of Georgia Press, 2018).

This book presents the Civil War letters exchanged between Mary “Mollie” Scollay, an upper-class woman in northern Virginia, and her fiancé, George Washington “Wash” Nelson as well as the prison memoir written shortly after the Civil War. The letters, as well as Wash’s own manuscript memoir, provide rare insight into a world of intimacy, despair, loss, and reunion in the Civil War South. The voices in the letters combined with Nelson’s stark account of captivity provide a story that is personal and political, revealing the daily life of those living in the Confederacy and the harsh realities of being an imprisoned soldier. Ultimately, through the juxtaposition of the letters and memoir, Prison Pens provides an opportunity for students and scholars to consider the role of memory and incarceration in retelling the Confederate past and incubating Lost Cause mythology.

This website, designed with teachers and students in mind, offers supplementary information not found in the book.