How are the corporals and other men described in the first paragraph of "An Episode of War"?
The first paragraph of "An Episode of War" is brief, and almost entirely descriptive;
The lieutenant's rubber blanket lay on the ground, and upon it he had
poured the company's supply of coffee. Corporals and other
representatives of the grimy and hot-throated men who lined the
breastwork had come for each squad's portion.
So, the answer to your question is quite succint; the corporals and other men are described as being "grimy and hot-throated", but we can probably glean some other information from this passage;
- The lieutenant is probably in charge of this particular group of men.
- It's probably daytime, and a battle is not taking place; the lieutenant wouldn't be distributing coffee during a fight. It might be morning, since coffee is typically a morning beverage.
- The corporals and other men may be much dirtier than the lieutenant, seeing as he is not described as being grimy. This implies he may be a bit better off, more well-mannered or "cut from a different cloth", as they might say. "Hot-throated" might imply that the men are also louder, more rambunctious, less civilized, or perhaps just hungry.
- "Breastwork" refers to fortifications. "Lining the breastwork" implies that this is a fort of some kind, perhaps on the frontier.