What rumor seems to be the most discussed? In The Red Badge of Courage in Chapter One.
Since the Union soldiers had been encamped for many months without having marched or seen any battlefield action, rumors about a possible move were rampant. The soldiers had heard the rumors so many times that arguments about the possibility led to fist fights and an overwhelming attitude that they would never see action against the Confederates.
“It's a lie! that's all it is—a thunderin' lie!” said another private loudly... I don't believe the derned old army's ever going to move. We're set. I've got ready to move eight times in the last two weeks, and we ain't moved yet.”
The soldiers seemed resolute that their luck would never change, that theirs was "an eternal camp." However, since each of the soldiers who initiated a new rumor became instantly popular and "bustled about with much importance," the rumors continued.
However, "a certain tall soldier," Jim Conklin, finally supplied what proved to be reliable information. It was fourth-hand information to be sure--
... swelled with a tale he had heard from a reliable friend, who had heard it from a truthful cavalryman, who had heard it from his trustworthy brother, one of the orderlies at division headquarters. He adopted the important air of a herald in red and gold.
“We're goin' t' move t' morrah—sure,” he said...
but it proved to be true. The regiment would move at last.
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