Ambrose Gwinett Bierce was brought up on the farm in Horse Cave Creek, Ohio, where he was born in 1842. Although information about his early life is sparse, the evidence of his stories and the fact that he quarreled with and repudiated his large family with the exception of one brother indicate an unhappy childhood and an abnormal hatred of parental figures. His only formal education consisted of one year at a military academy. He fought with the Indiana infantry in the American Civil War, was wounded at the battle of Kennesaw Mountain, and ended the conflict as a brevet major. After the war, he settled in California, where, following a brief stint as a watchman at the San Francisco mint, he drifted into literary work. He wrote for the San Francisco Argonaut and News Letter and published his first story, “The Haunted Valley” (1871), in the Overland Monthly. He married and, on money received as a gift from his father-in-law, traveled abroad to England in 1872, returning to California in 1876 because of bad health. Upon his return he again became associated with the Argonaut. From 1879 to 1881 he took part in the Black Hills gold rush, returning in 1881 to San Francisco, having found no success as a miner. There he began, in association with the San Francisco Wap, his famous column “The Prattler,” transferred to William Randolph Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner upon the Wap’s failure, and continued at the Examiner until 1896, when Hearst sent him to Washington as a correspondent for the New York American. Much of Bierce’s subsequently collected work appeared first in “The Prattler.” Divorced in 1904, Bierce resigned from the Hearst organization in 1909 and, in a final quixotic gesture, disappeared into Mexico in the thick of the Mexican Revolution. He was never heard from again.