By Michael Slicker
24th June is the birthday of writer Ambrose Bierce (1842), who is best remembered for his short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1891), a riveting tale about a Southern planter who is executed for conspiring to destroy a railroad bridge during the Civil War. The story's structure is unusual because a long period of time from the protagonist's point of view passes in an instant. It has been adapted numerous times for radio, television, and the movies. Bierce was a columnist for Hearst's San Francisco Examiner and is credited with foiling an attempt by the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads to get a bill through Congress excusing their $130 million loan from the federal government to build the First Transcontinental Railroad. Bierce is said to have mysteriously disappeared while he was with Pancho Villa's army during the Mexican Revolution.