Southern Historical Society Papers/Volume 02/October/Book Notices

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

Book Notices.

The Woman in Battle—Madame L. J. Velasquez, otherwise known as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, Confederate States Army. Richmond, Virginia: Dustin, Gilman & Co. 1876.

We have received this book from the publishers through their agent, Rev. Aaron Jones. It purports to give the adventures of a woman who disguised herself as a man, fought gallantly in a number of battles, rendered most important services as a Confederate spy, and had various hair-breadth escapes, and most romantic and thrilling adventures. As to the reality of the existence of such a personage, there can be no reasonable doubt. The publishers' circular contains certificates from Drs. J. P. Hammond and M. D. L. McCleod, of Atlanta, Georgia; Major G. W. Alexander, of Washington, Georgia; Major John Newman, of New Orleans, and General George Anderson, of Atlanta, all testifying that Madame Velasquez and Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, Confederate States Army, were one and the same individual. Major Alexander says that "she was well known to him, and that and that she was particularly distinguished for her devotion to the cause, for which she made many sacrifices. She was also brave, noble, and generous in disposition, ready at all times to do anything in her power for the Confederacy." We have also met with several Confederate officers who were cognizant of the fact that such a personage did figure in the Confederacy and who saw her upon several occasions.

The book is one which will be eagerly read by those who are fond of the marvellous, and is undoubtedly one which possesses much interest for the general reader. How far it can be received as history, is altogether another question. E.g., we may read with interest this narrative of personal adventure without being forced to explain how this dashing Lieutenant could have fought with Beauregard at Blackburn's ford on the 18th of July, 1861, and yet have been with Johnston, who marched from Winchester to Beauregard's relief on the same day—how he happened to be at so many battles fought by the different armies in different sections of the country—or how he managed to accomplish various other physical impossibilities. Nor could we endorse many of the opinions of men and things so confidently expressed.

We can only say that it is a very readable book, and would serve well to while away a winter's evening.