The Red Badge of Courage Chapter 16
The troops heard artillery join the constant sounds of muskets as they stood in formation. The youth's regiment relieved a command that had manned a series of trenches along a line of woods. The men sat, indifferent toward the battle in front of them - Wilson sat down and fell asleep. The youth wanted to shout an ironic joke to his comrades, but the cannon fire was too loud. Rumors flew down the line, but they were different from the previous day - they were no longer hopeful. The regiment was moved and they could glimpse the enemy cheering through the woods; the youth exploded in oaths against his own Union generals. He was surprised at his own words, for he hadn't deemed it good to denounce his own side. The youth felt guilty for a moment, then regained courage and put down his own command again. A nearby man accused the youth of being an egoist, and the youth was convinced that his cowardice on the previous day had been discovered. The man, although he seemed ignorant of the truth, brought the youth back to a sense of modesty.
Finally, the fluctuating sound of battle was heard in the woods. Artillery from the rear shot over their heads. The youth grumbled that the regiment was always being shuffled around without any sense of rhyme or reason, led through impassable briars. Wilson suddenly turned to the youth and tried ineffectively to calm him by saying everything would be all right in the end. The company's lieutenant swore at the two of them for wasting their breath when they were about to fight. He seemed ready to pounce on any disobedient man. The regiment haltingly stood its ground as the sounds of battle grew to a roar.