Bierce served in the United States Army in the American Civil War, and received severe injuries in 1864. After the war, Bierce began his writing career. From roughly 1870 through the end of his life, Bierce produced a substantial body of fiction in several genres, as well as non-fiction.
Bierce's personal life was rather tragic. His two sons predeceased him, and he eventually divorced his wife. In October 1913, he traveled to Mexico to cover the Revolution more personally. For a time, he rode with Pancho Villa's army. However, after a last letter send to a friend in December 1913, Bierce vanished. His ultimate fate remains a tantalizing mystery to this day.
The seventh volume of Harry Turtledove's Southern Victory series, The Victorious Opposition, derives its title from an entry in The Devil's Dictionary. "Manichaeism (noun): The ancient Persian doctrine of an incessant warfare between Good and Evil. When Good gave up the fight, the Persians joined the victorious opposition."
Jacob Klein found Ambrose Bierce'sThe Devil's Dictionary a very useful and insightful work, and particularly enjoyed Bierce's biting sense of humor. When his daughter, Annette, was taken into slavery along with Jacques, she found some wisdom in Bierce's cynicism, even bonding with Jacques while sharing Bierce's words (although Jacques, a pious follower of Henri, was leery of anything called The Devil's Wordbook).