Short Story #276: One Office, One Man by Ambrose Bierce

Title: One Office, One Man

Author: Ambrose Bierce


Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceCaptain Graffenreid stands at the front line with his men, seeing the enemy in the distance.  He can't see them clearly but he knows they are in the covered terrain ahead. However, due to a curious set of circumstances, Graffenreid  had yet to be engaged in a battle, though it was two years into the war.  Despite this, he is quite ready to partake of battle.  However, when there is the first fire, he leaps to the ground in fear, though the shot landed some hundred feet away.  This create a sense of shame in him as all the men on the front line witness this.  All of this deeply makes him rethink what he knows about war.  The fire volley begins and Graffenreid stands when gunfire does strike near him until someone pulls him down.  All of this strains Graffenreid's mind enough that he takes his own sword and thrusts it through himself.  Leaving the total casualties of the battle to one officer and one man.    


Not a story that's worth reading in terms of other tales from Bierce that discuss and talk about bravery and fear in war.  

Short Story #276 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 8/26/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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