Short Story #277: An Affair of Outposts by Ambrose Bierce

Title: An Affair of Outposts

Author: Ambrose Bierce


Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceAmisted and the Governor are in conversation about Amisted's request for a military commission.  The Governor is surprised because Amisted favors the South but is willing to join the war in the state (it is a Northern state).  The Governor is uncertain of this but Amisted explains that he would rather go off to war and possibly die than deal with the shame that his wife is cheating on him--of which he is certain but doesn't know who.  Some time later, the Governor is visitng troops near the front line near Armisted's company.  He inquires to meet up with Armisted but the General warns him about the area being infested with Confederates.  He finds Armisted and Armisted is cool and reserved.  The Governor reminds Armisted that he was the one to sign Armisted's commission, and just as Armisted responds to this, gunfire is heard.  A firefight breaks out and Armisted takes to leading his men in the fighting.  Armisted rallies the men to protect the Governor who had fallen.  In trying to save the Governor, Armisted is shot dead.  When the Governor comes too, the surgeon is examining him for wounds and find his ankle broken.  But also in his leg is a folded paper signed by Julia that was a full confession of her and how she had been abandoned by her lover now.  The Governor asks about Armisted who is the body lying near him.  The governor wanted to lay his hand upon the man in honor but knows he doesn't deserve it.


That the Governor was the man having an affair wraps everything together rather neatly as well as makes Armisted's death all the nobler.  

Short Story #277 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 9/15/2014
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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