• “The way to keep a secret, is not to tell it to anybody.”

    Loreta Velazquez
  • “My career has differed from that of most women.  Some things I have done have shocked persons for whom I have every respect.”

    Loreta Velazquez
  • “I was, despite my Spanish ancestry, an American, heart and soul.”

    Loreta Velazquez
  • “What a fearful thing this human slaughtering was.”

    Loreta Velazquez
  • “War fare inevitably breeds corruption”

    Loreta Velazquez
  • “A woman labors to fight her own way in the world, and yet, she can often do things that a man cannot.”

    Loreta Velazquez

Movie City News

“With all the attention being paid to Abraham Lincoln this year, it’s probably a good time to become acquainted with some of the unsung heroes of the Civil War, as well. (…) The PBS report, “Rebel: Loretta Velasquez Secret Soldier of the American Civil War,” introduces us to a Cuban-born woman from New Orleans with an amazing Civil War story of her own. It’s so delicious, I can easily imagine seeing it dramatized in a feature film someday”

 

By Gary Dretzka Dretzka@moviecitynews.com
Posted Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 –
The DVD Wrapup

PBS: Rebel: Loretta Velasquez Secret Soldier of the American Civil War

With all the attention being paid to Abraham Lincoln this year, it’s probably a good time to become acquainted with some of the unsung heroes of the Civil War, as well. Before watching the documentary “Saving Lincoln,” I hadn’t heard of Ward Hill Lamon, the president’s bodyguard and shadow, who, tragically, was assigned elsewhere on the night of the assassination. The PBS report, “Rebel: Loretta Velasquez Secret Soldier of the American Civil War,” introduces us to a Cuban-born woman from New Orleans with an amazing Civil War story of her own. It’s so delicious, I can easily imagine seeing it dramatized in a feature film someday. Velasquez became a controversial figure in the 1870s when her memoirs were published and stomped upon by old farts happy to promulgate mythic portrayals of the Southern fighting man and the nobility of their cause, while ignoring profiteers on both sides of the conflict. The political hacks in charge of deciding the veracity of books managed to convince enough powerful people in New York and Washington that Velasquez was perpetrating a hoax and therefore should be banished to the dustbins of history. Recently, women’s-studies scholars were able to reopen Velasquez’ case by discovering information long-buried in Washington archives that verified the existence of a Civil War hero – depending on which color uniform one favored — who literally disappeared after being discredited by men with a vested interest in glorifying war. As a teenager, Velasquez enlisted in the Confederate Army under the name Harry T. Buford and fought at the first Battle of Bull Run. After being wounded at Shiloh, she served as a Confederate spy. In 1863, Buford saw the error in many of her beliefs and began to serve the union in a similar capacity. It was treacherous work for men and women, but not as uncommon as we’ve been led to believe. In fact, research shows that more than 1,000 women served in the Civil War as soldiers. Women known for being “camp followers” – launderers, cooks, nurses, prostitutes – frequently passed along information about troop movements, weaponry and personnel. Considering the willingness of lonely men to confide in friendly women, no one was in a better position to do so. After being silenced for many years, Velasquez would make her presence known as an advocate of Cuban independence. The DVD adds interviews with the researchers who decided to reopen her case file.

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One hour version of REBEL as broadcast on National PBS for personal use.
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Educational

One hour teacher’s version of REBEL with audio/visual screening license.
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Theatrical

75 min. feature Director’s Cut is available for theatrical and community screenings. Contact info@iguanafilms.com.