The Red Badge of Courage Chapter 15
The regiment was formed into ranks on a nearby lane. The youth suddenly remembered the yellow package that Wilson had given him the day before, convinced he was going to die. It made him start and he called out Wilson's name to tell him, but thought better of it. He wished instead to use the package of letters as a bit of leverage against his friend. If Wilson were really to question him about the youth's actions the day before, he could easily put an end to the examination by embarrassing him with the package and reminding him of his weak sobs. He felt superior to Wilson and his self-pride returned. Since his acts of perceived cowardice were performed in the proverbial dark, he could still be considered a man.
The youth did not think much of the battle ahead. He felt that the lesson of the previous day was that retribution for a wrong could not be counted upon - he felt that he could leave the coming day to chance.
"Besides, a faith in himself had secretly blossomed. There was a little flower of confidence growing within him. He was now a man of experience. He had been out among the dragons, he said, and he assured himself that they were not so hideous as he had imagined them. Also, they were inaccurate; they did not sting with precision. A stout heart often defied, and defying, escaped." Chapter 15, pg. 87
The youth remembered the men he had seen running from battle the previous day; he remembered the terror on their faces. He was not like them, he said - he had fled with dignity. Wilson called out the youth's name. Embarrassed, he asked the youth for the package of letters back. The shame Wilson obviously felt gave the youth even more confidence. He suddenly imagined himself at home, telling vibrant stories of war to his mother and the girl at the seminary that had caught his eye.