Latinos In The United States Civil War (Part II)
Today we visit the story of Loreta Janeta Velázquez (aka Lt. Harry T. Buford), cross dressing Cuban Confederate soldier and spy. Born to a wealthy family in Havana in 1842 and educated in New Orleans, she married a Texan military officer who joined the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the Civil War. Velázquez also went on to join the Army, disguising herself as a man and taking the name Harry T. Buford. The only source of her story is the book The Woman in Battle: A Narrative of the Exploits, Adventures, and travels of Madame Loreta Janeta Velázquez, Otherwise Known as Lieutenant Harry T Buford, Confederate States Army, which she herself published in 1876. There she claimed to have met both Abraham Lincoln and Brigham Young and detailed her participation in various Civil War battles, including Bull Run, Ball’s Bluff, and Fort Donelson. Velázquez also claimed to have worked as a spy, in both male and female disguises, during and after the war. The veracity of her claims have been called into question from the time of her book’s publication. Nevertheless, her story has endured over the years, even being featured on a History Channel documentary and on the official website for the United States Army.