The Red Badge of Courage Chapters 4-7 Summary

In chapter four the men spread the word about those soldiers who have been taken to the hospital. Bill went in because someone had stepped on his fingers, and the doctor wanted to amputate them, but Bill wasn't interested in that. Bullets continued to fly past, and a lieutenant was shot in the hand. The captain attempted to stop the bleeding with his handkerchief. Men came running toward them yelling as they emerged from the smoke. They saw a flag sink down in the distance. Men continued to retreat as the veterans jeered. Henry waited for the source of the retreat, wanting to get a view of it while still thinking it would be smarter to run away.

In chapter five a general arrives to tell the colonel that his regiment needs to hold the opposing side back. The colonel agrees to do what he can. He tells his men not to shoot until he tells them to, but one of the men fired a wild shot. The shooting by the regiment that followed made Henry finally feel as though he were part of something. It brought a sense of brotherhood and purpose to the task at hand. He heard men around him making strange noises, like animals as others complained that they needed more support. The men moved unceremoniously with cartridge boxes hanging open trying to aim through the smoke. One man was crying while others screamed as men dropped around them. The captain of the company had been killed. Eventually, the enemy scattered away. Henry became aware of the foul air and took a drink. Some men smiled and bragged about how they had successfully held the enemy back. When the smoke cleared and the injured men were taken away, Henry noticed how surprisingly serene the landscape became.

Chapter six continues after the battle with the men feeling fairly proud of themselves. They exchange encouragements and hope that they won't have to fight again any time soon. Then someone begins to yell that the enemy is returning. The men complain about not having enough support and wishing they had been injured and hauled away. Feeling exhausted, some turn pale and flee. An officer led them forward and Henry began to wonder why they weren't retreating; they were sure to be killed. Then an officer proclaimed that they had held the enemies off, and they would wallop them for sure as he kicked his horse in excitement.

In chapter seven Henry is shocked by the declaration that they have won followed by sounds of an advance coming upon them. He decides to flee. Angry as he walks away from his regiment, who he considers fools for not leaving as well, he walks through the woods. He comes across a dead man propped up against a tree wearing a blue uniform. He gives a shriek before he wrenches the corpse from the tree so that it no longer sits up then leaves it behind.

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