The Red Badge of Courage
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.