local, national, and international events.
Bierce evidently stipulated that his "Prattle" column and certain other signed contributions -- even his Little Johnny pieces, which Hearst is known to have enjoyed -- appear only on the editorial page of the paper. Shortly after Bierce commenced work, the Examiner expanded its Sunday edition from twelve to sixteen pages, the latter eight pages constituting a separate section. It was in this second section that many of Bierce's great short stories appeared. In an unprecedented burst of writing that spanned roughly four years, Bierce wrote most of the stories for which he is known today: "One of the Missing" ( March 11, 1888), "A Son of the Gods" ( July 29, 1888), "My Favorite Murder" ( September 16, 1888), "A Tough Tussle" ( September 30, 1888), "Chickamauga" ( January 20, 1889), "One Officer, One Man" ( February 17, 1889), "A Horseman in the Sky" ( April 14, 1889), "The Coup de Grâce" ( June 30, 1889), "The Suitable Surroundings" ( July 14, 1889), "The Affair at Coulter's Notch" ( October 20, 1889), "A Watcher by the Dead" ( December 29, 1889), "The Man and the Snake" ( June 29, 1890), "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" ( July 13, 1890), "The Realm of the Unreal" ( July 20, 1890), "The Middle Toe of the Right Foot" ( August 17, 1890), "The Boarded Window" ( April 12, 1891). Perhaps the lifting of the onus of actually editing a paper, instead of merely contributing to it whatever he wished, freed Bierce's imagination; perhaps he required two decades to ruminate over his war experiences before he could begin to write of them in fiction. Whatever the case ( Bierce offers no clues, as he always remained tightlipped about his literary work, especially his fiction, even in private correspondence), the record speaks for itself.
In his early Examiner days, when his salary was only $35 per week, Bierce felt at liberty to contribute to other publications. One was a newspaper published across the bay, the Oakland Daily Evening Tribune, edited by his friend Edward F. Cahill . Here, throughout much of 1890, he contributed Little Johnny sketches, many fables, the piquant tale "Oil of Dog" ( October 15, 1890), and several poignant autobiographical essays that eventually found their way into the "Bits of Autobiography" section of the first volume of his Collected Works. Bierce also contributed a number of notable tales to the San Francisco weekly, the Wave (later renowned for publishing the short fiction of Frank Norris), including "A Baby Tramp" ( August 29, 1891), "The Death of Halpin Frayser" ( December 19, 1891), and "The Applicant" ( December 17, 1892). But thereafter -- especially after Bierce's salary was increased to a full $100 a week -- he repeatedly stated that he could not contribute to any newspaper or magazine not owned by Hearst; moreover he felt that the American magazines of his day were, by their tameness and conventionality, unsuitable venues for his distinctively grim tales. Although "The Damned Thing" appeared in the popular New York society paper, Town Topics ( December 7, 1893), few other works by Bierce appeared anywhere but in the Examiner during the period 1887- 1906.
By 1890 Bierce felt that he had enough stories to assemble a collection; and he began soliciting a publisher for Tales of Soldiers and Civilians. In its preface he huffily remarks that the volume was "denied existence by the chief publishing houses of the country," and he turned instead to E. L. G. Steele, a wealthy San Francisco businessman with whom he had been acquainted since at least 1884. In