by Efrain Nieves
In the second, and last, installment of Latinos that served in the U.S. Civil War, we will be featuring some of the most well known Latinos and Latinas that dedicated their lives to the American civil war.
Loreta Velazquez – was born in Cuba on June 26, 1842 to a wealthy family. In 1849, she was sent to school in New Orleans, where she resided with her aunt. At the age of 14, she eloped with an officer in the Texas army. When Texas seceded from the Union in 1861, her husband joined the Confederate army and Velazquez pleaded with him to allow her to join him. Undeterred by her husband’s refusal, Velazquez had an uniform made and disguised herself as a man, taking the name Harry T. Buford. Some of the battles she was involved in were Bulls Run, Ball’s Bluff, Fort Donelson and Shiloh. Her accounts of the war can be found in her book “The Woman in Battle: A Narrative of the Exploits, Adventures, and Travels of Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez, Otherwise Known as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, Confederate States Army.”
Philip Bazaar – was a Chilean immigrant living in Massachusetts who joined the Union Navy at New Bedford, Massachusetts. Bazaar was assigned to the USS Santiago de Cuba during the American Civil War. In 1864, Union General Ulysses S. Grant ordered an assault on Fort Fisher, a stronghold of the Confederate States of America. After the failure of the first assault, a second assault was ordered for January 1865. Bazaar was aboard the USS Santiago de Cuba and served in both assaults on the fort. On January 12, 1865, both ground and naval Union forces attempted the second assault. Bazaar and 5 other crew members, under the direct orders from Rear Admiral Porter, carried dispatches during the battle while under heavy fire from the Confederates to Major General Alfred Terry. Bazaar and his comrades were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions.
In doing our own research for this article we found it difficult to find information on many of these notables Latinos that served primarily because American History books have pretty much obliterated these facts. Our kids will never learn of these historical facts unless we teach them. Their goal is to credit only the Anglo-Saxons with the achievements during the Civil War. Fortunately for those of us that love history and/or were taught history outside the U.S., all it takes is a bit of scratching on the surface of manuscripts, written accounts and archives now easily available online for all to view.
Help us showcase more contributions of Latinos to the U.S. by sharing your knowledge with us. Let us take pride together in the certainty that the term aliens does not apply to us.
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