What pieces of information about Farquhar's background explain why he would risk his life on such a dangerous mission in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"?  

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We learn, in part 2, that Peyton Farquhar is not only a "slave owner" but also an "original secessionist" who is "ardently devoted to the Southern cause" as well. He feels that

No service was too humble for him to perform in the aid of the South, no adventure too perilous for him to undertake if consistent with the character of a civilian who was at heart a soldier, and who in good faith and without too much qualification assented to at least a part of the frankly villainous dictum that all is fair in love and war.

In other words, Farquhar has high personal stakes in the war, because if the North triumphs over the South, he'll lose his slave workforce. Further, he loves the Old South and feels strongly in favor of retaining its way of life, so much so that he wants the South to leave the Union altogether and form its own country. He is a Southerner to the extreme. He is sort of the quintessential Old Southern man who would do practically anything in order to protect his life, the Southern life, as it has been. Farquhar would perform any small or significant service so long as it would further the Southern cause and war effort. He believes that all is fair in war, and he would absolutely be willing to risk his own personal safety if that means preserving everything else for which he cares. These beliefs allude to the lengths to which he is willing to go.

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This quote explains the first part:

"Circumstances of an imperious nature, which is is unnecessary to relate here, had prevented him from taking service with that gallant army...and he chafed under the inglorious restraint, longing for the release of his energies, the larger life of the soldier..." (Bierce).

This sentence from part two basically spells it out for the reader. He wanted to join the army, but for some reason was unable to. He wanted to because everyone else would have been, and there was probably some dishonor in staying home and not joining the cause of the South. The word inglorious supports this; he feels staying at home is unfavorable. He also years for the "larger life of the soldier" (Bierce) meaning he feels that staying at home makes him feel a bit small.

Deeper reading/reasoning also suggests that he is a plantation owner and has something to lose if the South loses the war.

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