Bierce spent almost thirty years as a columnist for various San Francisco newspapers, including the Argonaut, the
Wasp, and the San Francisco Examiner. In 1871, he married Mollie Day, with whom he had two sons. A year later he moved to London, England, where his savagely witty newspaper columns made him a celebrity. After four years in Europe, though, he returned to San Francisco, where he resumed his journalism career.
In the 1890s, Bierce expanded his literary output by publishing a number of novels and short stories. The best known of these works was Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, published in 1891. This collection of short stories about the Civil War made Bierce even more famous. It included several powerful tales about the horrors of war. The best known of these stories is probably "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," which tells about a soldier who is about to be executed by enemy troops. But other selections like "Chickamauga," "One of the Missing," and "A Son of the Gods" also received significant critical and popular praise. Today, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and other Bierce stories continue to be included in many American short story anthologies [collections of stories, poems, or other writings].
Bierce freely admitted that his Civil War experiences had a big impact on his views of the world around him. The war's bloody violence and shocking casualties made him naturally suspicious of political and military leaders, and the sights and sounds of combat haunted his thoughts for the rest of his life. Years after the war had concluded, Bierce stated that "To this day I cannot look over a landscape without noting the advantages of the ground for attack or defense. I never hear a rifle-shot without [experiencing] a thrill in my veins. I never catch the peculiar odor of gunpowder without having visions of the dead and dying."
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