Why did Gates join the army, and what are his reasons for leaving?

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On his long march to Trenton Matt meets a teenage boy by the name of Israel Gates. When Israel's finished looking at Matt's sneakers, he starts to talk about his background. Israel comes from a troubled home. His mother died when he was young, and his father was always absent...

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On his long march to Trenton Matt meets a teenage boy by the name of Israel Gates. When Israel's finished looking at Matt's sneakers, he starts to talk about his background. Israel comes from a troubled home. His mother died when he was young, and his father was always absent due to his alcoholism. That left Israel to take care of his younger brothers and sisters—otherwise, they would almost certainly have starved. So he sold himself as a substitute—that is, he took the place of a rich man who didn't want to serve in the war—and enlisted in the Patriot Army.

Israel doesn't leave the army as such; at least, not by choice. Exhausted and cold from the long march, and with an infected foot, Israel collapses. He's so tired and cold that he doesn't even care that he's wet himself. Matt stays by Israel's side all through that terrible night. But when he wakes up the next morning, he's saddened to discover that Israel passed away in the night.

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