Chapter 22 Notes from The Red Badge of Courage

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The Red Badge of Courage Chapter 22

When another attack began with an enemy charge from the woods, the youth stood tranquilly and confidently erect. He watched the fighting intently, as two regiments from each side met each other's fire and a brigade marched toward a wood. After a time, the dark blue Union forces forced the gray Confederates into retreat; they cheered and the flags moved as if laughing. A moment later, a roar unlike any the youth had heard to that point surged; the entire line of each army was fighting simultaneously. The fighting was punctuated from time to time by one section or another's cheering; then just as quickly their fight resumed. There was such chaos that the youth was at a loss to see which side was winning.

When the youth's emaciated regiment was to charge, they did so with a fierceness undiminished by the fighting that day. They fought harder than they ever had; the lieutenant seemed to pull out new oaths they had never heard. The youth, still carrying the regiment's colors, was an absorbed spectator. Suddenly, a line of the enemy charged, then took cover behind a fence as the youth's regiment fired a volley at them. Both sides dug in and fought savagely. The youth had resolved not to move, no matter what came to pass. The scorn he had endured gave rise to a hatred that could only be revenged justifiably through his dead corpse lying in the field. Many men in the youth's company fell; the orderly sergeant was shot through the cheeks and his jaw hung limp. The lieutenant swore less decisively and the regiment's fire grew weaker.

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