Summarize "An Episode of War" by Stephen Crane

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

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The short story "An Episode of War," by Stephen Crane, describes an incident common to soldiers on both sides in the American Civil War: the wounding of a comrade. During a lull in the fighting, a young lieutenant is dividing the morning's ration of coffee for his men when a shot rings out. A bullet has struck the officer's arm, and his men crowd around to view the damage. As the lieutenant makes his way to the rear for medical assistance, he sees all about him--a general, an artillery battery, some stragglers--in a new light. Another officer stops to redress the wound. When the lieutenant finally reaches a surgeon, the doctor assures the wounded man that amputation will not be necessary. Of course, it is only to calm the man, and when the lieutenant returns home to recuperate, his relatives cry at the sight of his flat sleeve. He tells them, "I don't suppose it matters so much as all that." It is, indeed, only a minor matter in the overall horror that is war.

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