In "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was Farquhar a federal soldier and how can you tell?
We can tell that Peyton Farquhar is not a federal soldier because it tells us more than once that he is not.
First, we are told that he is a civilian.
Second, we are told that he was from a rich Alabama family. He is said to be an ardent supporter of the Confederacy.
We are told that Farquhar is being hanged because a Union scout (who was pretending to be a Confederate soldier) provoked him into trying to burn down the Owl Creek bridge. The soldier was probably on a mission to try to get possible trouble makers to show themselves.
The story takes place in northern Alabama during the Civil War. Union forces are in control and martial law prevails. There are no civil rights, no safeguards for enemies of the Union, and no trials beyond those of a military court. From Section II, we infer that Farquhar, almost literally the only character, was lured or even entrapped into an attempt to blow up Owl Creek Bridge. We assume that he had tried to overcome the guard and then had been arrested, summarily tried, and condemned to death by hanging from the bridge which he had tried to destroy.
Farquhar, "a slave owner and like other slave owners a politician," has managed in his own way to engineer damage to the enemy and so has become a marked man. A believer in "at least a part of the frankly villainous dictum that all is fair in love and war" (8), Farquhar is lured into a fatal trap by someone in the enemy camp who assents to the same view.