The Red Badge of Courage
Stephen Crane (1871-1900)
An Episode of the American Civil War
The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring
fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.
As the landscape changed from brown to green, the army awakened,
and began to tremble with eagerness at the noise of rumors.
It cast its eyes upon the roads, which were growing from long
troughs of liquid mud to proper thoroughfares. A river,
amber-tinted in the shadow of its banks, purled at the army's
feet; and at night, when the stream had become of a sorrowful
blackness, one could see across it the red, eyelike gleam of
hostile camp-fires set in the low brows of distant hills.
Once a certain tall soldier developed virtues and went resolutely
to wash a shirt. He came flying back from a brook waving his
garment bannerlike. He was swelled with a tale he had heard from