Friday, May 03, 2013

The Confederate Woman: Soldier and Spy

These fictional memoirs are based on the true story of a southern belle who defied convention to become a front line soldier and spy for the Confederacy. Follow Laura as she fights in some of the bloodiest battles of the war, breaks hearts, and extends the limits of glory.

This story is based on the life and writings of Loreta Janeta Velazquez. Almost everything known about Loreta Velazquez comes from a six hundred page book she published in 1876 entitled 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. The Woman in Battle is written in the popular romantic style of the 19th century and is similar to books portraying the lives and adventures of wild west heroes such as Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp. (Velazguez talks about her own western adventures for several hundred pages after wrapping up her Civil War reminiscences). When the book first appeared, Velázquez stated that she had written the book primarily for money so she could support her child.

Shortly after its appearance, former Confederate General Jubal Early denounced The Woman in Battle as an obvious fiction. Historians are divided concerning the truth of Velazquez’s claims to have served as a Confederate soldier and spy, citing the improbability of her many adventures and her vagueness and inaccuracies regarding names and places. Most historians have found it difficult to corroborate her claims from existing written evidence, although there have been some tantalizing finds that lend some credence to the Velazguez story. Notwithstanding the criticisms, some historians note that Velazquez seems extremely familiar with key events of the time, in short, there is at least a seed of truth in her story.

Brave soldier and spy, or literary opportunist? History’s jury is still out on the case of Loreta Velazguez.

The Confederate Woman: Soldier and Spy

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