Women of the Civil War
Women may have been little recognized for their contributions to the war effort, but they were not untouched (Civil War Women). The women of the Civil War held many jobs and contributed greatly to the war. Loreta Velazquez disguised herself as a Confederate soldier and Rose O’Neal Greenhow was a spy for the Confederates and Louisa May Alcott was a nurse for the Union soldiers.
During the Civil War, women disguise themselves as men to help the war efforts. They disguised themselves for many reasons including: to fight for their country, to fight for their rights, to fight along side their husbands (A, B, C.) Loreta Velazquez was one of many women soldiers, she disguised herself as a soldier when her husband left for war and did not take her (Chang 50). Loreta Velazquez was as good as any other soldier, “Notwithstanding the fact that I was a woman, I was as good a soldier as any man around me, and as willing as any to fight valiantly and to the bitter end before yielding” Velazquez said (Women in Uniform in the Civil War). Loreta Velazquez’s role in the Confederate Army, the Forty’s say that “She fought valiantly, helping to beat off wave after wave of the attackers, in sleet, snow, and high winds of a bitter February (Military Women). Even though Loreta was a woman, she fought as hard as any man did.
Many women who went to fight had to disguise themselves to look like men. Loreta Velazquez was a very convincing man, with her black-cropped short hair, and glued on facial hair. Velazquez even went to the lengths of practicing a low voice, a manly walk, and learned to spit in the streets (Chang 50). When trying on the Confederate uniform, Loreta could still tell she was a woman. What did Loreta Velazquez do about that? She created a system of wire shields and braces to hide her breast, put on a uniform, and adopted the name Harry Buford (Women in Uniform in the Civil War). Velazquez was a very smart woman, and would do anything to fight as a soldier.
Velazquez’s personal accounts of her extraordinary experiences in battle are probably exaggerated, like many reminiscences of the Civil War, but her feelings were genuine. Velazquez’s feelings toward the war grew. She became a “gambler” as she put it, as she was in men’s clothing while fighting for wins. She also became more confident while fighting on the fields (Chang 51). Loreta Velazquez was a fearless soldier, she claimed “Fear was a word I did not know the meaning of, as I noted the ashy faces and the trembling limbs of some of the men about me, I almost wished I could feel a little fear, if only for the sake of sympathizing with the poor devils” (Chang 51). Loreta was a fearless solder, and didn’t let anything get in her way.
When it comes to Loreta Velazquez story about her being a commander, things get a little confusing. Velazquez’s time as a commander came at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff; however, she was appointed temporary commander of a company, after all the...