Civil War Medicine Chest

Carried By Charles E. White- Seige of Port Hudson 1861 & ‘62D

Diseases contracted during the Civil War killed over twice as many men as bullets. Infections spread rapidly in overcrowded camps. Measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox ran rampant, particularly among newly-enlisted soldiers from rural areas who lacked immunities from prior exposure. But even more fatalities resulted from dysentery and diarrhea contracted due to unsanitary conditions.

http://antiquescientifica.com/web.civil_war_medical_box.htm

http://www.ozarkscivilwar.org/themes/medicine

Sylvester Magee - Slave And Civil War Soldier-  Was Likely The Last Living Human Being Who Possessed Any Firsthand Memory Of The Trials Of The Civil War Or Institutionalized Slavery

He was wounded twice in the Siege of Vicksburg and the Battle of Champion Hill.

Sylvester Magee’s obituary proclaimed him to be “The Last American Slave.” According to oral histories, Sylvester Magee was born in North Carolina on May 29, 1841 and sold at Enterprise, Mississippi. He was present at the Vicksburg siege and pressed into service in the Union army. Another source relates that Magee also had duties as a gravedigger in the Vicksburg burial details. By the mid-1960s, due to his advanced age, Sylvester Magee became nationally famous. On his 124th birthday the citizens of Collins, Mississippi threw him a party and Magee was sent a letter of congratulations from President Lyndon Johnson. Governor Paul Johnson even declared the day “Sylvester Magee Day.” Magee took his first flight to New York for a television appearance and later flew to Philadelphia to appear on the Mike Douglas Show.

He appeared in the March 1967 issue of Jet magazine, and was noted by President Richard Nixon as probably the oldest citizen of the United States, having been identified as the nation’s oldest living person by a life insurance company. When asked why he had lived so long, he simply stated that the Lord had been good to him. Reportedly, his last words were “Lord have mercy.” Sylvester Magee was likely the last living human being who possessed any firsthand memory of the trials of the Civil War or institutionalized slavery. 

Burial:
Pleasant Valley Cemetery
Foxworth
Marion County
Mississippi, USA

Reposted from Find a Grave- Pay your respects here: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=49460775

Brothers- Privates Thomas D. Hilliard And Colonel John Hilliard Of Co. C, 12th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, With Bowie Knives

Although many major battles did not occur in North Carolina, the state played an important role during the American Civil War…

The state provided more men (133, 905) for the Confederate cause, than any other state.  This number comprised approximately one-sixth of the Confederate fighting force.   Of that number, one sixth (approximately 20,000) became casualties of war.  Disease took approximately 20,000 Tar Heels lives, too.  According to historian Paul Escott, the state “had only about one-ninth of the Confederacy’s white population,” yet “it furnished one-sixth of its fighting men.”  In sum, 30-percent (approximately 40,000) of those fighting for the Confederacy died during the war.

http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/commentary/320/entry

Photo found on ebay http://www.ebay.com/itm/8-by-10-Civil-War-Photo-Print-2-Confederate-Soldiers-North-Carolina-Brothers-/351157320720?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51c29b7c10

Credit Deb’s Lost Treasures and Original photo Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print

North Carolina Confederate Stephen Dodson Ramseur-  I Was Mortally Wounded In The Battle Of Cedar Creek

He graduated from West Point at age twenty-three in June 1860. And went on to command the Ellis Light Artillery. On May 20, 1861, Ramseur’s artillery was posted on the State Capitol grounds during North Carolina’s secession debate. When the convention approved secession, Ramseur’s battery announced the historic moment by firing its cannons.

He served with distinction in 1862 and 1863, received a promotion to brigadier general, and suffered wounds three times. He also fell in love with his cousin Ellen Richmond and they married in 1863. During their months of separation, the couple wrote many loving letters to each other. Ramseur earned a promotion to major general for leading an attack that saved the Confederate army at Spotsylvania Courthouse in May 1864. While he was fighting in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in the summer and fall of 1864, Ellen was at home awaiting the birth of their first child. On October 16, Ramseur received news that his wife had given birth and that all was well. But the message did not say whether the baby was a boy or a girl. Three days later, Ramseur was mortally wounded in the Battle of Cedar Creek, without knowing that he had a daughter.

He died of battle wounds on October 20, 1864, after sending his love to his family and requesting that a lock of his hair go to his wife. Federal troops returned his body to a boyhood friend, Confederate major general Robert F. Hoke. Ramseur’s body lay in state briefly in the capitol at Richmond, then went by train home to Lincolnton. Ramseur’s family was crushed by the news of his death. His widow, Ellen, and three-week-old daughter, Mary, could not travel from Caswell County for the funeral. Ellen Ramseur never remarried and wore black mourning clothing for the rest of her life. She remained with her family in Caswell County until she died in 1900 at the age of fifty-nine. Mary Ramseur never married and died at the age of seventy-one in 1935.

Reposted from http://moh.ncdcr.gov/exhibits/civilwar/explore_section4n.html

Alexander (Sandie) Swift Pendleton- I Was Mortally Wounded At Fisher’s Hill
He was asked by General Stonewall Jackson to join his staff as an ordnance officer —- Jackson had known Pendleton from their days together in Lexington, where Jackson was a Professor at the Virginia Military Institute. Pendleton subsequently served as Jackson’s Assistant Adjutant General (Second Corps), and the relationship between Pendleton and Jackson was a close one— it was said that Jackson “loved him like a son.”
Following Jackson’s death at Chancellorsville in May 1863, Pendleton remained as AAG under General Richard S. Ewell and would later serve under Gen. Jubal A. Early. Pendleton married Kate Corbin in December 1863, and the newlyweds were expecting their first child when he was mortally wounded at Fisher’s Hill on September 22, 1864. He died on September 23, and in October his body was returned to Lexington for burial. Kate Corbin Pendleton gave birth to a son, Sandie, in November 1864. The child contracted diphtheria and died in September 1865.
http://www.vmi.edu/archives.aspx?id=8165

Alexander (Sandie) Swift Pendleton- I Was Mortally Wounded At Fisher’s Hill

He was asked by General Stonewall Jackson to join his staff as an ordnance officer —- Jackson had known Pendleton from their days together in Lexington, where Jackson was a Professor at the Virginia Military Institute. Pendleton subsequently served as Jackson’s Assistant Adjutant General (Second Corps), and the relationship between Pendleton and Jackson was a close one— it was said that Jackson “loved him like a son.”

Following Jackson’s death at Chancellorsville in May 1863, Pendleton remained as AAG under General Richard S. Ewell and would later serve under Gen. Jubal A. Early. Pendleton married Kate Corbin in December 1863, and the newlyweds were expecting their first child when he was mortally wounded at Fisher’s Hill on September 22, 1864. He died on September 23, and in October his body was returned to Lexington for burial. Kate Corbin Pendleton gave birth to a son, Sandie, in November 1864. The child contracted diphtheria and died in September 1865.

http://www.vmi.edu/archives.aspx?id=8165

Unidentified Soldier In Union Sergeant’s Frock Coat And Forage Cap With Unidentified Woman In Dress And Hat With Veil Between 1861 And 1865

Layers Of Civil War Womens Clothing

List of the Civil War womens clothing that they wore starting next to the skin and working out in layers:

Layer 1
* Drawers (underpants) made of cotton or linen and trimmed with lace
* Chemise (long undershirt) usually made of linen
* Stockings held up with garters

Layer 2
* Corset or stays stiffened with whale bone
* Crinoline, hoop skirt, or 1 or 2 petticoats (dark color if traveling due to mud and dirt)

Layer 3
* Petticoat bodice, corset cover, or camisole

Layer 4
* Bodice
* Skirt, often held up with “braces” (suspenders)
* Belt
* Slippers made of satin, velvet, done in knit, or crochet

Layer 5 (outerwear for leaving the house)
* Shawl, jacket, or mantle
* Gloves or mitts
* Button up boots
* Parasol
* Bonnet or hat
* Bag or purse
* Handkerchief
* Fan sometimes made of sandalwood
* Watch pocket

Photo Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print

http://www.visit-gettysburg.com/civil-war-womens-clothing.html

 Carlos Alvarez de la Mesa Was A Spanaird Who Came To The U.S. To Fight In The Civil War, And Fought At Gettysburg
The Spanish national immigrated to the U.S. in 1861 to join the Union Army and fight in the Civil War. Weeks after marrying into a family of “New England blue bloods,” the 32-year-old joined the “Garibaldi Guard.” Also called the 39th New York Infantry Volunteers, its companies were composed of ethnic Hungarians, Germans, Italians, Spaniards and other immigrants.
De la Mesa fought in the pivotal battle of Gettysburg. The officer received a gunshot wound to his foot as he leaped over a stone wall, and was trampled by his “entire company.” He suffered critical wounds across his body. Despite his illnesses, he went on to serve for years in the Veteran Reserve Corps before he died in an insane asylum from “disease of the brain” in 1872.
http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/39thInf/deLaMesa/39thInf_Coll_deLaMesa_photo.htm
http://www.timesunion.com/default/article/War-letters-tell-poignant-tale-2208663.php

Carlos Alvarez de la Mesa Was A Spanaird Who Came To The U.S. To Fight In The Civil War, And Fought At Gettysburg

The Spanish national immigrated to the U.S. in 1861 to join the Union Army and fight in the Civil War. Weeks after marrying into a family of “New England blue bloods,” the 32-year-old joined the “Garibaldi Guard.” Also called the 39th New York Infantry Volunteers, its companies were composed of ethnic Hungarians, Germans, Italians, Spaniards and other immigrants.

De la Mesa fought in the pivotal battle of Gettysburg. The officer received a gunshot wound to his foot as he leaped over a stone wall, and was trampled by his “entire company.” He suffered critical wounds across his body. Despite his illnesses, he went on to serve for years in the Veteran Reserve Corps before he died in an insane asylum from “disease of the brain” in 1872.

http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/39thInf/deLaMesa/39thInf_Coll_deLaMesa_photo.htm

http://www.timesunion.com/default/article/War-letters-tell-poignant-tale-2208663.php

The 1st And 15th Arkansas’ Famous Humanitarian Act
Privates Henry Clements and John McKamie Wilson Baird, of the “Jackson Guards”, A Prewar Volunteer Militia Company Which Became Company G, 1st Arkansas
During the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain on June 27, 1864, the 1st/15th Arkansas became involved in a famous humanitarian act. At one point in the battle, not far from the position known as the “Dead Angle”, the Union frontal assault had failed leaving hundreds of dead and wounded Union soldiers between the Confederate works and the Union lines.
The woods and brush between the two armies caught fire because of the gunfire and artillery. The fire began to creep toward the wounded soldiers. Lt. Colonel William P. Martin who was commanding the 1st and 15th combined Arkansas Regiments, jumped on the earthworks and ordered his Confederate soldiers to cease firing. He then waved a white flag of truce yelling to the Union soldiers to “come and get your wounded, they are burning to death.” For a short time the Union and Confederate soldiers helped remove the wounded and put out the fires. The next day the Union generals presented Martin with two Colt Revolvers as a thank you for his humanitarian efforts. Later the opposing forces began to fire at each other again.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield, The Civil War for Kids
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Arkansas_Infantry_Regiment

The 1st And 15th Arkansas’ Famous Humanitarian Act

Privates Henry Clements and John McKamie Wilson Baird, of the “Jackson Guards”, A Prewar Volunteer Militia Company Which Became Company G, 1st Arkansas

During the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain on June 27, 1864, the 1st/15th Arkansas became involved in a famous humanitarian act. At one point in the battle, not far from the position known as the “Dead Angle”, the Union frontal assault had failed leaving hundreds of dead and wounded Union soldiers between the Confederate works and the Union lines.

The woods and brush between the two armies caught fire because of the gunfire and artillery. The fire began to creep toward the wounded soldiers. Lt. Colonel William P. Martin who was commanding the 1st and 15th combined Arkansas Regiments, jumped on the earthworks and ordered his Confederate soldiers to cease firing. He then waved a white flag of truce yelling to the Union soldiers to “come and get your wounded, they are burning to death.” For a short time the Union and Confederate soldiers helped remove the wounded and put out the fires. The next day the Union generals presented Martin with two Colt Revolvers as a thank you for his humanitarian efforts. Later the opposing forces began to fire at each other again.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield, The Civil War for Kids

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Arkansas_Infantry_Regiment

Grand Rapids Resident Captain Samuel Judd of Company A Of The 3rd Michigan Infantry Regiment
He was born in Massachusetts in 1806 and killed at the battle of Fair Oaks in Virginia in 1862. 
More than 90,000 Michigan men, nearly a quarter of the state’s male population in 1860, served in the war. 14,753 Michigan soldiers died in service, roughly 1 of every 6 who served. 4,448 of these deaths were combat deaths while the majority, over 9000, were from disease, a constant fear in crowded army camps with poor food, sanitation and exposure issues and pre-modern medicine. This put Michigan’s loss at sixth highest among the Union states (the non-state U.S Colored Troops losses also exceeded Michigan’s).
When, at the beginning of the war, Michigan was asked to supply no more than four regiments Governor Austin Blair sent seven. Upon the arrival of Michigan’s 1st volunteers President Abraham Lincoln was prompted to remark, “Thank God for Michigan.”
http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/04/150_years_since_the_beginning.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_in_the_American_Civil_War

Grand Rapids Resident Captain Samuel Judd of Company A Of The 3rd Michigan Infantry Regiment

He was born in Massachusetts in 1806 and killed at the battle of Fair Oaks in Virginia in 1862.

More than 90,000 Michigan men, nearly a quarter of the state’s male population in 1860, served in the war. 14,753 Michigan soldiers died in service, roughly 1 of every 6 who served. 4,448 of these deaths were combat deaths while the majority, over 9000, were from disease, a constant fear in crowded army camps with poor food, sanitation and exposure issues and pre-modern medicine. This put Michigan’s loss at sixth highest among the Union states (the non-state U.S Colored Troops losses also exceeded Michigan’s).

When, at the beginning of the war, Michigan was asked to supply no more than four regiments Governor Austin Blair sent seven. Upon the arrival of Michigan’s 1st volunteers President Abraham Lincoln was prompted to remark, “Thank God for Michigan.”

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/04/150_years_since_the_beginning.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_in_the_American_Civil_War

Warrior-Poet William Haines Lytle- He Had A Major Reputation In The 1800’s Heyday Of Poetry. He died at Chickamauga, left behind on the battle field where Confederate soldiers actually protected his body

Confederate officer, Colonel Wm. Miller Owen, in his reminiscences of the civil war, relates that, while riding over the battlefield of Chickamauga, on September 20, 1863, he came upon the body of General Lytle, which he recognized as that of an old friend. He says: “A confederate soldier was standing guard over the body. Dismounting, I asked the man his instructions, and he replied, ‘I am here to take charge of this body, and to allow no one to touch it.’

His poetry was loved by both Yankees and Southerners, especially “Antony and Cleopatra” They read his poetry aloud in a makeshift tribute. They found some of his latest verses on his body including these lines he had written for his sisters:

“In vain for me the applause of men,
The Laurel won by sword or pen,
But for the hope, so dear and sweet,
To lay my trophies at your feet.”

Tis Only Once We Love By William Haines

The heart that throbbed at Glory’s voice
And followed in her train,
Although in sloth it slumbers long,
May wake to life again.
But ah! when once true love has bloomed,
As many a heart can prove,
The fragrance wasted ne’er returns—
‘Tis only once we love.

I tread the sunny paths of life,
‘Mid beauty’s proud array,
But the spell that lent a charm to all
Has mist-like passed away.
No more the thrill from mingled pulse
The eloquent low sigh,
Nor the unbidden tear of joy
That trembled in the eye.

Yet ofttimes in my early dreams,
From some enchanted isle,
Comes one with her soft, winning voice
And the old gladsome smile,

And hand in hand we wander on
Through violet-bordered glades,
Till with the night’s starred legions bright
The joyous vision fades.

Ah! sadly pass the hours away
When that sweet light departs,
Which fair as dawn on Eden rose
With rapture on our hearts.
And many a blossom fair is culled
As through the world we rove;
But the fairest is the rarest flower.
‘Tis only once we love.

Lytle never married, and left no direct descendants.

Photo Brady National Photographic Art Gallery (Washington, D.C.) info wiki and http://myweb.wvnet.edu/~jelkins/lp-2001/lytle3.html

Poet Warrior - William Haines Lytle

Celebrated American poet before the Civil War. Lytle’s most famous poem, “Antony and Cleopatra” (published in 1857), was beloved by both North and South in antebellum America

He was a politician in Ohio, renowned poet, and military officer in the Army during both the Mexican American War and The Civil War, where he was killed in action as a brigadier general.

Lytle was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia while leading a counterattack on horseback. Once his identity was known, respectful Confederates placed a guard around his body, and many recited his poetry over their evening campfires.

His funeral was held in the early afternoon at Christ Church on Fourth Street in Cincinnati. So many people lined the streets that the funeral cortege did not reach Spring Grove Cemetery until dusk. Lytle’s monument, one of the most impressive ones there, is near the entrance to the cemetery. The alleged shooter of Lytle was never discovered, and to this day has never been discovered, all that is known is that the shooter was a Confederate sniper using a Whitworth .45 caliber percussion rifle.

According to history presented to The Daughters of The Confederacy, the shooter was Hillary Garrison Waldrep of Company B of the 16th Alabama Regiment of Infantry. In order to make the shot that was purportedly approved personally by General Bragg, Waldrep had to adjust the sights on his rifle for 200 yards beyond where they usually were. According to the account, once General Lytle fell to the ground, his horse was spooked and ran toward the Confederate soldiers. Bragg gave Hillary Garrison Waldrep General Lytle’s horse, bed-roll and equipment. Waldrep later sold the horse for $100.

Taken From Antony and Cleopatra-Lytle’s most famous poem, 1858:

I am dying, Egypt, dying;

Hark! the insulting foeman’s cry;

They are coming; quick, my falchion!

Let me front them ere I die.

Ah, no more amid the battle

Shall my heart exulting swell;

Isis and Osiris guard thee, —

Cleopatra, Rome, farewell!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Haines_Lytle

http://waroftherebellion.com/images/lyttle2.jpg

Ode to the Confederate Dead

Allen Tate, 1899 - 1979
Row after row with strict impunity
The headstones yield their names to the element,
The wind whirrs without recollection;
In the riven troughs the splayed leaves
Pile up, of nature the casual sacrament
To the seasonal eternity of death;
Then driven by the fierce scrutiny
Of heaven to their election in the vast breath,
They sough the rumour of mortality.

Autumn is desolation in the plot
Of a thousand acres where these memories grow
From the inexhaustible bodies that are not 
Dead, but feed the grass row after rich row.
Think of the autumns that have come and gone!--
Ambitious November with the humors of the year,
With a particular zeal for every slab,
Staining the uncomfortable angels that rot
On the slabs, a wing chipped here, an arm there:
The brute curiosity of an angel’s stare
Turns you, like them, to stone,
Transforms the heaving air
Till plunged to a heavier world below
You shift your sea-space blindly
Heaving, turning like the blind crab.

     Dazed by the wind, only the wind
     The leaves flying, plunge

You know who have waited by the wall
The twilight certainty of an animal,
Those midnight restitutions of the blood
You know--the immitigable pines, the smoky frieze
Of the sky, the sudden call: you know the rage,
The cold pool left by the mounting flood,
Of muted Zeno and Parmenides.
You who have waited for the angry resolution
Of those desires that should be yours tomorrow,
You know the unimportant shrift of death
And praise the vision
And praise the arrogant circumstance
Of those who fall
Rank upon rank, hurried beyond decision--
Here by the sagging gate, stopped by the wall. 

     Seeing, seeing only the leaves
     Flying, plunge and expire

Turn your eyes to the immoderate past,
Turn to the inscrutable infantry rising
Demons out of the earth they will not last.
Stonewall, Stonewall, and the sunken fields of hemp,
Shiloh, Antietam, Malvern Hill, Bull Run.
Lost in that orient of the thick and fast
You will curse the setting sun.

     Cursing only the leaves crying
     Like an old man in a storm

You hear the shout, the crazy hemlocks point
With troubled fingers to the silence which
Smothers you, a mummy, in time.

                               The hound bitch
Toothless and dying, in a musty cellar
Hears the wind only.
     
                    Now that the salt of their blood
Stiffens the saltier oblivion of the sea,
Seals the malignant purity of the flood,
What shall we who count our days and bow
Our heads with a commemorial woe
In the ribboned coats of grim felicity,
What shall we say of the bones, unclean,
Whose verdurous anonymity will grow?
The ragged arms, the ragged heads and eyes
Lost in these acres of the insane green?
The gray lean spiders come, they come and go;
In a tangle of willows without light
The singular screech-owl’s tight
Invisible lyric seeds the mind
With the furious murmur of their chivalry.

     We shall say only the leaves
     Flying, plunge and expire

We shall say only the leaves whispering
In the improbable mist of nightfall
That flies on multiple wing:
Night is the beginning and the end
And in between the ends of distraction
Waits mute speculation, the patient curse
That stones the eyes, or like the jaguar leaps
For his own image in a jungle pool, his victim.

What shall we say who have knowledge 
Carried to the heart?  Shall we take the act
To the grave?  Shall we, more hopeful, set up the grave
In the house?  The ravenous grave?

                                   Leave now
The shut gate and the decomposing wall:
The gentle serpent, green in the mulberry bush, 
Riots with his tongue through the hush--
Sentinel of the grave who counts us all!

From Selected Poems by Allen Tate, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons.

http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/ode-confederate-dead

Charles Longfellow- Son Of Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In 1863, he ran off to enlist as a private in the Union Army during the Civil War, and eventually received a commission as a lieutenant in a cavalry regiment. Miraculously, he survived a bout with malaria and what could have been a mortal gun shot wound to his back, which he received while on campaign in Virginia. The bullet traveled across his back, nicked his spine, and exited under his right shoulder. He missed being paralyzed by less than an inch.

He knew his father disapproved of him fighting, but went anyway. He wrote a letter to his father saying, “I have tried to resist the temptation of going without your leave but cannot any longer.”

Charles Longfellow went on to become one of the earliest American tourists in Japan. His journal offers a rare picture of the Asian nation opening up to the world after centuries of isolation. Charles was independently wealthy with inheritances from his grandfather, Nathan Appleton and his mother, and spent the rest of his life traveling the world. He died in 1893, in Cambridge from pneumonia and is buried in the family vault in Mt. Auburn Cemetery. The souvenirs of his travels and his uniforms and accoutrements from his service in the Union Army are at Longfellow House in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

http://www.friendsoflongfellowhouse.org/2008/12/charles-appleton-longfellow-twenty.html

http://www.nps.gov/long/historyculture/charles-longfellow.htm

An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge Or “A Dead Man’s Dream Is A Short Story By American Author And Civil War Soldier Ambrose Bierce (1842–1913) From An Episode Of “The Twilight Zone” 1964

The film won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Short Film and first prize for Best Short Subject at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival. Often compared to the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, his stories share an attraction to death in its more bizarre forms.

Ambrose Bierce’s world was dramatically shaped by his war experience, as was true of many Union and Confederate soldiers who did not go on to become famous authors. As a soldier in the 9th Indiana Infantry, veteran of Shiloh, Chickamauga, and much of the Atlanta campaign, and as a staff officer, Bierce served faithfully through some of the worst combat the Civil War had to offer.  He produced a series of short reminiscences of that service much in the way that thousands of other veterans wrote of their war experience.

A group of soldiers is hanging a southern farm owner for trying to stop northern military movements across the Owl Creek Bridge.

In the last moments of his life, the southern prisoner dreams he has escaped. And everything that happens in the story is really the images in the prisoner’s mind just before he dies.

Bierce asks the reader to examine how far “right” can go before it becomes “wrong.”  The reader wants to sympathize with Farquhar not because Farquhar did anything right or noble, but because Farquhar is the only “human” in the story.  The reader feels pity and sympathy for Farquhar’s wife who will never see her husband again, and his children who will never have their father.  Yet the reader knows that the soldiers are the ones in the right, when the reader looks through Farquhar’s eyes, and is put in touch with Farquhar’s emotions… maybe, just this once, the bad guy can escape, the reader thinks.  Maybe the bad guy isn’t quite so bad. In very much the same way that Stephen King’s early works twisted reality just enough to make the terrifying plausible, so do many of the works of Ambrose Bierce. 

http://learningenglish.voanews.com/content/short-story-an-occurrence-at-owl-creek-bridge-by-ambrose-bierce-122750404/130926.html

http://www.ambrosebierce.org/journal3hess.html

http://www.humanities360.com/index.php/literary-anaylsis-an-occurrence-at-owl-creek-bridge-by-ambrose-bierce-28955/

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