Surprisingly, Crane's "Red Badge of Courage" is not based on any personal wartime experience. Instead, Crane was probably influenced by the pervasive coverage of the war in print media and in the works of writers like Ambrose Bierce whose own war narratives preceded Crane's novel by just a few years.
SOme people say that Crane's story developed to some degree out of his reading of war stories by Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy and the popular memoirs of Civil War veterans
Stephen Crane wrote this book on a bet. the bet was that he couldn't write a better book than Emile Zola's book The Downfall. Stephen Cran actually never fought in the civil war but he did report on it. he asked confederate soldiers what they felt and how it was.