TV tonight: PBS features female Civil War soldier Loreta Velazquez

Loretta Velazquez allegedly fought in Civil War disguised as a man.

Photo: PBS/Loreta Velazquez

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2013 —With the May ratings sweeps officially over, the dreaded reruns are upon us once again. Other than the ten o’clock time slot that features new episodes of 20/20 on ABC and Rock Center with Brian Williams on NBC, the pickings for original episodes tonight are slim indeed.

Fortunately PBS comes to the rescue tonight at 10 p.m. with the fascinating story of Loreta Velazquez. Almost everything historians know about Loreta Janeta Velazquez comes from 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.”

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In her book Velazquez claims to have served in the Civil War at Manassas/Bull Run, Ball’s Bluff, Fort Donelson and Shiloh under the name Lieutenant Harry T. Buford. Velazquez also claims to have served as a spy, working as a double agent for the Confederacy in the service of the U.S. Secret Service.

According to her book Velazquez’s adventures didn’t stop when the Civil War was over. She also claims to have traveled extensively to Europe and South America as well as enjoying an extended stay with the Mormons in Utah.

Since Velazquez’s book includes enough adventure for several lifetimes, a lot of historians have dismissed her narrative as mostly fiction, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t compelling. The many historical correlations of Velazquez’s story gives the viewer a solid point of reference, and a good reason to tune in tonight.

Tonight’s viewing:

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All times are EDT:

 8 p.m.

ABC: Shark Tank: (Repeat) Comedy writer Bruce Vilanch helps pitch an idea for a virtual classroom designed to teach technology to baby boomers. Other products include a motorized-vehicle suit; sugar-free candy chips; and a search engine that lists homes for sale. Also: an update on a folding-guitar business invested in by Kevin O’Leary.

CBS: Undercover Boss: (Repeat) Tony Wells, chief marketing and customer officer for ADT, works undercover at his security systems company.

FOX: Bones: (Repeat) The team’s investigation of the death of an animal-expo worker leads them into the shady market for illegal animal trading. Meanwhile, Brennan considers her political aspirations; and Sweets and Daisy confront a change in their relationship.

NBC: Dateline NBC: (Repeat) The vanishing of a young woman following her encounter with a stranger on a train is investigated. Keith Morrison reports.

CW: Nikita: (Repeat) Birkhoff reveals the identity of Amanda’s mole to Nikita. Meanwhile, Michael confronts Alex about her drug use.

8:30 p.m.

TNT: NBA Playoffs: Game 2: Pacers at Heat: Indiana at Miami in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

9 p.m.

ABC: Shark Tank: (Repeat) Mark and Lori offer an entrepreneur an investment of $1 million; an engineer runs into difficulty discussing finances; and the makers of a peanut butter from Season 3 offer an update on their business. Also: Friends share their idea for a cabinet that combines beer and video games; an idea for peel-off face paint is pitched; and a mom talks up the benefits of her hair-care products for kids.

CBS: Blue Bloods: (Repeat) A woman recants a domestic-abuse claim, but Danny and Jackie continue to investigate the situation. Soon they uncover the woman’s secret affair with a powerful politician who’s friends with Frank. Meanwhile, Linda returns to the workforce, causing chaos at home.

FOX: Brain Games: (Repeat) An exploration of how the brain works, focusing on how the mind can be manipulated to see things that are not there.

CW: Supernatural: (Repeat) Sam and Dean investigate when bodies branded with a mysterious symbol turn up with their feet and hands severed; Dean meets a girl at a bar.

10 p.m.

ABC: 20/20: (New) 12 Hours of Terror: Conn. Woman Held Hostage by Arsonist Ex.

CBS: Blue Bloods: (Repeat) Erin’s ex-husband reappears in her life and goes up against her in court. Meanwhile, Danny suspects a serial killer is responsible for the murders of two individuals who were part of a group accused of a gang rape.

NBC: Rock Center with Brian Williams: (New) An interview with Plaza Towers Elementary principal Amy Simpson.

PBS: Voces on PBS: (New) The story of Loreta Velazquez, a Cuban immigrant to New Orleans who disguised herself as a male in order to fight in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy. Eventually, she also spied for the Union. The documentary includes dramatic vignettes.

Basic cable:

New episodes of: 

Invasion at 8 p.m. on Animal Planet

Top Ten Beasts at 9 p.m. on Animal Planet

Sons of Guns at 9 p.m. on DSC

Flea Market Flip at 9 p.m. on HGTV

Wild West Alaska at 10 p.m. on DSC

Mystery Diners at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

Merlin at 10 p.m. on Syfy

I Found the Gown at 10 p.m. on TLC

The Dead Files at 10 p.m. on Travel Channel

How We Invented the World at 10 p.m. on SCI

Maron at 10 p.m. on IFC

River Monsters: Unhooked at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet

House Hunters International at 10:30 p.m. on HGTV

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

Harum Scarum on ENC

X-Men: The Last Stand on FMC

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs on FX

Rise of the Planet of the Apes on HBO

Mean Girls on SHO

Inside Daisy Clover on TCM

The Help on TMC

The Last Samurai on AMC

Later tonight:

The Hangover at 9:p.m. on TNT

Red Tails at 9:30 p.m. on HBO

Zookeeper at 9:30 p.m. on ENC

A Guy Thing at 10 p.m. on FLIX

Chernobyl Diaries at 10 p.m. on HBO

The Loved One at 10:15 p.m. on TCM

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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present.

In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.


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