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The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage


by Stephen Crane

The Red Badge of Courage Chapter 23 Summary

  • An officer says the men have to charge the fence. It seems the Johnny Rebs are hiding behind this fence and must be flushed out.
  • Henry gets ready to flush. He "felt the daring spirit of a savage religion-mad. He was capable of profound sacrifices, a tremendous death" (23.5).
  • He thinks of the "bullets only as things that could prevent him from reaching the place of his endeavor" (23.5).
  • The two armies fight and clash for possession of the all-important fence.
  • Henry sees something else he wants: the Confederate flag! (He is not content with one flag and is going for the matching set.) Conveniently, the rebel flag bearer just happens to be wounded. Badly.
  • Henry makes a super-human effort and "spr[ings] at the flag as a panther at prey" (23.20).
  • He manages to obtain the Confederate flag as well as retain his own Union flag.
  • Meanwhile, the Union soldiers have captured some POWs. Henry and the other men are surprised to see how the Confederates look and act just like them, like real people and everything.
  • With the battle over, Henry can once again shoot the breeze with Wilson.

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