Bibliography of Loreta Janeta Velazquez

Cindy Solis

Professor: Stacy Hartlage

ENG 102

February 05, 2012

Bibliography of Loreta Janeta Velazquez

    “At length an opportunity offered, in the breaking out of the conflict between the North and the South in 1861, for me to carry out my long-cherished ideas; and it was embraced with impetuous eagerness, combined with a clam determination to the thing through. Braiding my hair very close, I put on a man’s wig, and a false mustache, and by tucking my pantaloons in my boots, as I had seen men do frequently, and otherwise arranging the garments, which were somewhat large for me, I managed to transform myself into a very presentable man” (The Women in Battle, Loreta Janeta Velazquez, pages 37 and 53).  Loreta Janeta Velazquez was a courageous woman that disguised herself as a Confederate soldier during the Civil War; her purpose was to show her loyalty and determination by fighting to support the South as Lieutenant Harry Buford in the Confederate Uniform.

Velazquez enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861. She was born into an aristocratic family in Havana, Cuba in1842. Her father was a Spanish Official and her mother a wealthy French-American woman. Her father held an official post in Cuba as a government official; he also owned plantations in Mexico and Cuba. At a very young age Velazquez developed a deep admiration for Joan of Arc, this created in her a desire be a woman of courage who would fight for great causes. In her early teens she was sent to school in New Orleans where she learned the English language. There she met her first husband; a Texas army officer named William, they were married to for several years, until he died during a training exercise by a weapon malfunction. In the course of Velazquez life’s she traveled a lot not only in the USA, but also around the world to places like: Canada, Venezuela, and Europe.

Almost everything know about Velazquez comes from her book “The Woman in Battle: A Narrative of the Exploits, Adventures, and travel of Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez, Otherwise known as Lieutenant Harry T Buford, Confederate States Army.”  How much it is true, remains to be determined. Some historians said that she could it done some of the things she claimed, despite of the inaccuracy of names and places and the absence of evidence to corroborate her claims. Part of the incidents on the book had been verified, but there are many facts that still in question.

When the American Civil War started, Velazquez husband joined the Confederate army. She tried to convince him to let her join the army, but he denied her request.  After that, Velazquez acquired a uniform and disguised herself as man, talking the name Harry T. Buford. In her new role, she demonstrated some of her great qualities and talents like: integrity, dedication, commitment, creativity, leadership, strong character, and courage. She recruited 236 men to ship them to Pensacola, Florida to fight in her command. Then she started her adventures in many important civil wars like: First Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, the Battle of Ford Donelson and the Battle of Shiloh.

Another interesting fact about Velazquez was her openness to new ideas. She was able to prove it, when she was offered a job as spy gathering information all around the USA. During this time she was able to get intelligence for the Confederacy. To reward her loyalty and courage she was made an official member of the detective corps. As a spy she allegedly had meetings with personalities like President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Simon Cameron.

Her greatest military achievement was in April 1862 in the Battle of Shiloh where she founded the battalion that she raised. Velazquez joined them for the fight, where she was welcome with all the support of the entire company. They greeted her with cheer and gladness, this not only gave her a deep inspiration to continue her journey, but also the assurance of the great effect that she was causing in people around her and the world.  After the first day of the fight, she decided to gather intelligence. It was during that night that Velazquez claimed she had the chance to shot General Ulysses S. Grand. But she didn’t do it, because for her, it was too much like murder. She was wounded twice during different battles, one time in her foot and another in her side by an exploding shell. In one of these occasions an army doctor discover her gender for what she decided to return to her home in New Orleans to get medical attention, to then come back to fight again.

Madame Velazquez was an example of bravery and creativity during a time where our country needed support. Her inspiration to fight for what she thought was right, was amazing. Her book is a part of the American Civil War history and the anecdotes tell us events that happened at that time. Without her story we wouldn’t have this great illustration of a woman that was a hero of the Civil War and one of the very few female immigrants that fought for this country.


Works Cited Page


Hoffert, Sylvia D. “Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez: Heroine or Hoaxer.” History Live the History. 12 June, 2012. Weider History Group. 21 Jan. 2012. <;

“Velasquez, Loreta Janeta.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2008. 21 Jan. 2012. <;.

“Velasquez, Loreta Janeta.” Wikipedia. 10 January.2011. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 21 Jan. 2012. <;.

Velazquez, Loreta Janeta. The Woman in Battle: A Narrative of the Exploits, Adventures, and travel of Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez, Otherwise known as Lieutenant Harry T Buford, Confederate States Army. Richmond, VA: Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography, 2003. Print.


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