Which side did peyton farquhar support in the civil war

Posted By Admin @ September 03, 2022


An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge - Ambrose Bierce

1. What is about to happen to this man?
2. If you were Farquhar, would you regret your decision to try to destroy the railroad bridge?
Why or why not?
3. How did Peyton Farquhar get into this predicament? What was his crime and who is
punishing him?
4. What does the gray-clad soldier tell Farquhar and his wife when he stops by their home?
5. What happens at the end of story to Farquhar?
6. How are Farquhar's experiences after his escape realistic? How are they unrealistic?
7. How effectively has the author depicted Farquhar's psychological trauma? Justify your
decision from the text. Cite examples using quotes.



An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce, 1890:

1. The man is about to be hanged.

2. Farquhar could regret his decision to try to destroy the railroad bridge, if he feared death.  But, his sympathy was with his countrymen, the South.  Since he did not participate actively in the war, as a true patriotic citizen who wanted to contribute his quota, he would not regret his decision.  I would not regret it, if I was acting within the same circumstances.  Patriotism demands that a citizen defends his nation with all the resources at his disposal.  Farquhar was just doing that.

3a. Peyton Farquhar was lured into this predicament by a scout who pretended to be on the side of the South.  The scout even encouraged Farquhar to burn the bridge by explaining how flammable the timbers of the bridge were.

3b. Farquhar's alleged crime was an attempt to burn the bridge as a strong supporter of the Southern cause.  Farquhar did not really burn the bridge, but he was punished by the Unionist army for his attempt.

4. The gray-clad soldier told Farquhar and his wife when he stopped by their home about the war front, the repair of the Owl Creek bridge by the Unionists, and the martial law which ordered that any person caught burning the bridge would die by hanging.

5. At the end of the story, Farquhar died by hanging, and was unable to escape death.  He could not return to his cherished family.

6. Farquhar's experience of escape was imagined by him to be realistic, having figured out the means of escape to the last minute and his return to his family.  But, they were very unrealistic.  He was hung and he died.

7. The author, Ambrose Bierce depicted Farquhar's psychological trauma so effectively by making him to imagine his fall into the creek, subsequent pains, swimming to safety amidst the volley of bullets, and being washed ashore.  For instance, the author wrote: “Suddenly he heard a sharp report and something struck the water smartly within a few inches of his head, spattering his face with spray."  "To die of hanging at the bottom of a river!"


"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was an 1890 short story by Ambrose Bierce.  In this story, the author depicted the evil of war by concentrating his writing on Peyton Farquhar, a civilian who was hanged for attempting to sabotage the Unionist advance, a crime he did not actually commit.

During the American Civil War, the Union and Confederate governments passed various martial laws to favor their different positions, against the efforts of the other divide.

The story resonates with the futility of war.  War is a futile exercise that does not glorify human lives but orchestrates death without provocation and compassion.

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