What does the camp look like in The Red Badge of Courage?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Stephen Crane does not go into too much detail about Henry's Union encampment in The Red Badge of Courage. We do know that the men are in Virginia (the ensuing action will be the bloody Battle of Chancellorsville), and it is late spring--"the landscape changed from brown to green"--and that the rains and melted snow have caused "liquid mud" in the camp, from where hills can be seen in the distance. Confederate camp-fires are visible at night across the river which "purled at the army's feet." There is a nearby brook, and the camp is littered with "rows of squat brown huts," from which smoke emitted from the fireplace chimneys. One soldier relates the story of having planned to put a plank floor in his hut. Henry shared his hut, which had a small hole in which he entered. He had a "wide bunk" that took up one end of the room. Cracker boxes were used for chairs. A magazine picture hung on the log wall, with rifles and equipment hanging from pegs. A "folded tent" served as a roof, and there was a window from which "whiter light" shined upon the floor.

Camp life was one of montony and endless drilling.

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