I agree with Crane’s position on war especially with the issue of death. In Crane's previous works and before The upturned face, Crane contends that death is a byproduct of war and it is inescapable. The soldiers may all be out to prove a point or fight for different causes but death is a constant threat for all the participants. The combatants may be brave enough to go to war, but they share an underlying fear of death as shown by their inability to touch the dying or the already dead, because death is an eventuality that they are all faced with. In his work, The upturned face, however, things are different, because the lieutenant and the adjutant are forced to deal with a dead comrade on the battlefield. They are still fearful, but they go ahead with their impromptu burial service for one of their own, since they cannot leave him rotting away on the battle field.
Stephen Crane has several themes that run through his stories of the Civil War, including The Red Badge of Courage and the short story "The Upturned Face." One of the major themes is how fate determines who lives or dies, and how any man--officer or enlisted--can be subject to death at the blink of an eye. Another theme is the horror of the battlefield, which many soldiers only discovered after their first test under fire. Many of those who enlisted in Civil War units expected a glorious experience--one where honor and chivalry rose to the forefront. However, most came to find that death can fall upon anyone at any time. I certainly agree with Crane's assessments, since no man is immune to a bullet or piece of shrapnel that has his name on it.