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Peyton Farquhar was a planter and Southern sympathizer who, although he was unfit for military duty, longed to do his part for the Confederacy. He was visited one day by "a grey-clad soldier" who asked for water and revealed to Farquhar that the Yankees had reached Owl Creek Bridge and were "getting ready for another advance". The visitor stated that the Yankee commandant had issued an order "declaring that any civilian caught interfering with the railroad, its bridges, tunnels, or trains, will be summarily hanged", but at the same time, he hinted that it would be very easy to burn down the bridge and so slow the Yankees' progress. It turned out that the visiting soldier was actually a scout for the Union Army, and when Farquhar took the bait and tried to do his part for the South by burning the bridge, he was arrested and sentenced to hang.
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