Plot summary[ edit ] Peyton Farquhar, a civilian and plantation owner, is being prepared for execution by hanging from an Alabama railroad bridge during the American Civil War. Six military men and a company of infantrymen are present, guarding the bridge and carrying out the sentence. Farquhar thinks of his wife and children and is then distracted by a noise that, to him, sounds like an unbearably loud clanging; it is actually the ticking of his watch.
It was first published in the San Francisco Examiner in Military bridge constructed over the Tennessee River, Military bridge constructed over the Tennessee River, I A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern An occurrence at awl creek bridge, looking down into the swift water twenty feet below.
A rope closely encircled his neck. It was attached to a stout cross-timber above his head and the slack fell to the level of his knees. Some loose boards laid upon the sleepers supporting the metals of the railway supplied a footing for him and his executioners--two private soldiers of the Federal army, directed by a sergeant who in civil life may have been a deputy sheriff.
At a short remove upon the same temporary platform was an officer in the uniform of his rank, armed.
He was a captain. A sentinel at each end of the bridge stood with his rifle in the position known as "support," that is to say, vertical in front of the left shoulder, the hammer resting on the forearm thrown straight across the chest--a formal and unnatural position, enforcing an erect carriage of the body.
It did not appear to be the duty of these two men to know what was occurring at the center of the bridge; they merely blockaded the two ends of the foot planking that traversed it. Beyond one of the sentinels nobody was in sight; the railroad ran straight away into a forest for a hundred yards, then, curving, was lost to view.
Doubtless there was an outpost farther along. The other bank of the stream was open ground--a gentle acclivity topped with a stockade of vertical tree trunks, loopholed for rifles, with a single embrasure through which protruded the muzzle of a brass cannon commanding the bridge.
Midway of the slope between the bridge and fort were the spectators--a single company of infantry in line, at "parade rest," the butts of the rifles on the ground, the barrels inclining slightly backward against the right shoulder, the hands crossed upon the stock.
A lieutenant stood at the right of the line, the point of his sword upon the ground, his left hand resting upon his right. Excepting the group of four at the center of the bridge, not a man moved.
The company faced the bridge, staring stonily, motionless. The sentinels, facing the banks of the stream, might have been statues to adorn the bridge.
The captain stood with folded arms, silent, observing the work of his subordinates, but making no sign. Death is a dignitary who when he comes announced is to be received with formal manifestations of respect, even by those most familiar with him. In the code of military etiquette silence and fixity are forms of deference.
The man who was engaged in being hanged was apparently about thirty-five years of age. He was a civilian, if one might judge from his habit, which was that of a planter.
His features were good--a straight nose, firm mouth, broad forehead, from which his long, dark hair was combed straight back, falling behind his ears to the collar of his well-fitting frock coat.
He wore a mustache and pointed beard, but no whiskers; his eyes were large and dark gray, and had a kindly expression which one would hardly have expected in one whose neck was in the hemp. Evidently this was no vulgar assassin.
The liberal military code makes provision for hanging many kinds of persons, and gentlemen are not excluded.In "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," Ambrose Bierce gives us the closest thing we'll probably ever get to that firsthand account of dying – that is, until we die ourselves.
Death is a . An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge By Ambrose Bierce center of the bridge; they merely blockaded the two ends of the foot planking that traversed it.
They have reached the Owl Creek bridge, put it in order and built a stockade on the north bank. The commandant has issued an order, which is posted everywhere, declaring that any.
"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is a short story by Ambrose Bierce that was first published in An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers.
You may find it for free on the The condemned man stands on a bridge, his hands bound behind his back.4/5. Page 1 of 2.
A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking down into the swift water twenty feet below. The man's hands were behind his back, the wrists bound with a cord. Free summary and analysis of the events in Ambrose Bierce's An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge that won't make you snore.