Confederate Con Artist
A mysterious woman of many names and dubious merit became a southern media celebrity. For 140 years, historians have puzzled over a book published in 1876 titled The Woman in Battle, the memoir of a woman calling herself Loreta Velasquez, one of her many names, who claimed to have dressed in a Confederate uniform, adopted the name Harry Buford, and fought in the ranks at First Manassas, Ball’s Bluff, Belmont, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and more, until she put aside her uniform and spent the rest of the war as a Confederate blockade runner and spy in the North. Were her fantastic claims really true? The debate still goes on.