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Velazquez, Loreta Janeta (26 June 1842–?), purported soldier and spy, was born in Havana, Cuba, to an unknown Spanish father and an unknown French-American mother. Given the degree of hyperbole in The Woman in Battle (1876), the primary source of information on her life, there is even some question as to whether Velazquez herself actually existed, or whether the identity was a nom de plume adopted to describe her at least partially fictional exploits. Recent research into the details of her narrative, however, suggests that although there is some contradiction and inconsistency in her text—which she claimed to have written without notes—enough remains that can be corroborated to suggest that some version of the truth is retold there....