Theatre Macabre: Season 1 Episode 16 A Matter of Conscience
Two Civil War soldiers meet once again on the battlefield.
The Host introduces Ambrose Bierce's story, A Matter of Conscience.
A Union Private is patrolling the area when he hears a gunshot. Captain Hartroy gets out of his tent and looks around and the Union Private finds a dead soldier . He looks up and sees a Confederate soldier on horseback. Hartroy asks the Union Private if he knows where the bullet came from and sees the dead soldier. Union Guard stops Howard Brune and orders him to show identification. Brune starts to whistle and as Hartroy returns to camp, Brune recognizes him. As Brune is walking away from camp, Hartroy recognizes him and takes him prisoner. Hartroy goes through Brune's possessions and finds a map of the camp's positions and support lines. Brune tells him that his name is Parker Anderson and his rank is sergeant. Brune admits that he is a spy and Hartroy calls in Taskman and tells him to take a letter to Lieutenant Tadwell. Hartroy and Brune discuss the differences between dying in battle and dying by firing squad. Hartroy tells Brune that he knows his real name and rank and that he is a deserter from the Union army and joined the Confederate army.
Hartroy remembers back to when Brune was out on patrol in Ohio with a Confederate Sergeant and a Confederate Private when they were ambushed by Hartroy and his fellow soldiers. The Confederate Sergeant is shot dead while the Confederate Private is stabbed to death by a Union Corporal with his sword. A Union Soldier recognizes Brune who deserted at Gettysburg. The Union Soldier then starts to beat Brune until he is stopped by Hartroy. The Union Soldier is about to shoot Hartroy when the Union Corporal stops him. Hartroy remembers back to Grafton, Virginia, when Hartroy was guarding Brune before his court-martial. Brune discovers Hartroy has fallen asleep and starts to escape, but then walks back to his cell and wakes up Hartroy. In the present, Hartroy wonders how he can sentence a man to die who once saved his life. Hartroy offers Brune a cigar and Brune tells him not to feel guilty about his impending death. Tadwell enters the tent and takes Brune away to be executed. Brune is put in front of a firing squad and Hartroy grabs his pistol and shoots himself in the head. Shortly after, Brune is shot dead.