The Red Badge of Courage
How we cite our quotes:
The youth of this tale felt gratitude for these words of his comrade. He had feared that all of the untried men possessed great and correct confidence. He now was in a measure reassured (1.73).
At this point in the novel, Henry isn’t as concerned with eliminating his cowardice as he is with justifying it.
His emotions made him feel strange in the presence of men who talked excitedly of a prospective battle as of a drama they were about to witness, with nothing but eagerness and curiosity apparent in their faces. It was often that he suspected them to be liars (2.7).
Henry hopes that his comrades feel the same trepidation as he, as this would justify his own cowardice. (The old "everyone else is doing it!" defense.)
There was a consciousness always of the presence of his comrades about him. He felt the subtle battle brotherhood more potent even than the cause for which they were fighting. It was a mysterious fraternity born of the smoke and danger of death (5.12).
Henry shoots because other men are shooting. This isn’t courage; think of it as simply the team sport factor. Just because he participates in battle doesn’t mean he’s earned his stripes… yet.