A Brave Southern Woman

February 9, 1901


The Planet accounts of a female’s bravery as an officer in the confederate army, disguising herself as a man.


Certainly the most sensational part plated by a woman in the civil war was that of Mme. Velasquez, a pretty young southern woman of Spanish descent, who disguised herself as a man and for many months served as lieutenant in the confederate army under the name of Lieut. Harry Buford, says the Chicago Tribune. In this capacity she took part in several battles leading her men with great fearlessness and skill and winning the compliments of her superior officers for gallantry on the field of battle. In the latter part of the war she was made an agent of the confederate secret service, and in various disguises spent months in the north, traveling repeatedly from New York to Chicago, Philadelphia and other cities. At one time she even succeeded in getting employment under the head of the United States secret service in New York city, and in that position was able to secure information of great value to the confederacy. At the battle of Ball’s Bluff she was in command of a regiment, and the men under her charge captured more than 100 federal prisoners. It was the scene of bloodshed of which she was forced to be a witness here that finally led her to give up active service in the army and go into the secret service, which, while quite as dangerous, did not lead her constantly into the presence of wounded and dying men. During the whole of her service she was never wounded though it is said that she often took greater chances than were necessary.
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Nathan Lyell


“A Brave Southern Woman,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed September 29, 2023, https://blackvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1020.