Notes on Objects & Places from The Red Badge of Courage

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The Red Badge of Courage Objects/Places

American Civil War (Chancellorsville): The American Civil War was a conflict between the northern and southern American states that claimed over 600,000 lives between 1861 and 1865. It was fought to preserve the American union (the Southern Confederacy wanted to secede), and to liberate all slaves. Although it is never mentioned in The Red Badge of Courage, Crane mentions in the book's sequel, The Veteran, that The Red Badge takes place during the battle of Chancellorsville. The battle took place between May 1st & 3rd, 1863, involving the forces of General Joseph Hooker for the Union (Northern) Army and General Robert E. Lee for the Confederate (Southern) Army. The Confederate Army won the battle, even though they were badly outnumbered by the Union forces.

Dark blue uniform: Henry joins the 304th New York regiment, which fights for the Union (Northern) forces. The Confederate (Southern) forces wear gray uniforms.

Dead soldier #1: During the dawn march into the first day of battle, Henry's regiment comes upon the body of a dead confederate soldier. It is the first death Henry has seen in the war, and he pleads with it silently to answer questions for him about death. The dead man has a long, tawny beard and his shoes are worn almost through.

Yellow package: Before the first day of battle, the Loud Soldier (Wilson) gives Henry a package of letters and keepsakes to deliver to the Loud Soldier's family, should he die during the battle. After the first day, when Henry and Wilson are reunited, Wilson, embarrassed, asks Henry to give the package back to him.

Battle flag: Each regiment on both sides of the war has a flag, which identifies the regiment's designation and origins, such as Henry Fleming's 304th New York. The battle flag leads each regiment into battle and is a coveted prize for the winner of a skirmish.

Dead soldier #2: After fleeing the battle line, Henry wanders deep into the woods and comes upon the body of a dead Union soldier leaning against a tree in a chapel-like clearing. The body has ants crawling over its face, a vision that haunts Henry later.

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