The Red Badge of Courage Chapter 6
The youth was thrown into a sense of self-satisfaction at having passed what he thought the most supreme of trials. He thought himself magnificent for having fought thus. He spoke tenderly to the men around him and helped a man bind a wounded shin. All of a sudden, to the men's disbelief, the regrouped enemy mounted another charge. Shells began to explode around them as they saw the tilted flag coming again. The men around the youth began to complain - one lamented over the prodigious fate of Bill Smithers and his crushed fingers. The firing began, and the youth felt weak and nervously jaded. He tried to peer into the blurred mass in front of him, and began to exaggerate the endurance, strength, and valor of the enemy. He shot once into an oncoming cluster of men, then lowered his rifle.
"To the youth it was an onslaught of redoubtable dragons. He became like the man who lost his legs at the approach of the red and green monster. He waited in sort of a horrified, listening attitude. He seemed to shut his eyes and wait to be gobbled." Chapter 6, pg. 41
Men around the youth, who had seemed so brave moments before, threw down their rifles and fled without shame. Danger seemed to encroach from all sides; the youth ran like the others toward the rear, with thoughts of possible horrors contorting his face. The lieutenant, raging, tried to stop him with his sword, to no avail. The youth ran blindly and feared death coming from behind worse than that from in front. He heard men running behind him and felt better, for they would be targeted before he could be. Once a shell flew over his head and exploded in front of him, barring the way. He threw himself to the ground and then sprang up and kept running. He came upon a battery of artillery and marveled at the calmness with which the men loaded and fired the cannons. Scrambling up a hill he watched a reserve brigade go into action to support a skirmish - the youth thought they were either some wondrous breed of men or a bunch of fools.
Later, the youth came upon a division general seated magnificently upon his horse. The youth tried to get near enough to listen to what he said. The youth had visions of the general asking him for his opinion on the battle; he felt he had important information on the army's imminent defeat. He hated the general and felt he wanted to thrash him for his blatant ignorance. The general barked orders at messengers, and, watching the battle, cried for joy when he saw that an advance had been held off. He cried so loudly that his horse startled; he kicked and swore at it.