The Red Badge of Courage | Study Guide

Stephen Crane

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The Red Badge of Courage | Characters

Character Description
Henry Fleming Mainly called "the youth," Henry Fleming is a young, inexperienced soldier in the 304th Regiment of the Union army during the American Civil War. He is concerned he will run away from the fighting, which he does, but eventually proves to be a fierce and inspirational fighter. Read More
Wilson Called "the loud soldier," Wilson initially argues with everyone and takes offense at minor jabs. He matures into a thoughtful, caring man. Read More
The lieutenant The lieutenant, whose surname is Hasbrouck (also called "the young lieutenant"), leads Henry's regiment. He eventually respects Henry and wishes he had a whole regiment of soldiers like him. Read More
Jim Conklin At the beginning Jim Conklin is called "the tall soldier," but then is called "the spectral soldier" after he is mortally wounded. He is a friend of Henry's from home, and Henry stays with him until he dies. Read More
The tattered soldier The tattered solder has two wounds and befriends Henry as they walk with the wounded; he talks about the fighting but scares Henry off when he questions him about his wound. Read More
The cheerful soldier The cheerful soldier walks Henry to his regiment in the dark when Henry is confused and weak after being hit in the head by the butt of a rifle. He keeps up a cheerful banter during this walk and makes sure Henry gets to his regiment.
Henry's mother Henry's mother appears only in Chapter 1 during a flashback in which Henry recalls her words of advice to him. She discouraged him from enlisting.
General MacChesnay General MacChesnay is in charge of Henry's regiment. He remains calm while being chastised by an officer who says they did not do enough to serve as a diversion.
The sarcastic man The sarcastic man is a member of Henry's regiment. After Henry makes a boastful comment, he says, "Mebbe yeh think yeh fit th' hull battle yestirday, Fleming," which returns Henry to modesty.
Simpson Simpson is Henry's corporal who walks Henry to the fire to examine his head wound when Henry returns to his regiment. Simpson, not realizing how close to the truth he is, says the bullet grazed Henry and left a lump "jest as if some feller had lammed yeh on th' head with a club."
Unnamed colonel The unnamed colonel tells the general that the 304th Regiment "fight[s] like a lot of mule drivers" and later refers to them as "mud diggers," which infuriates Henry. The officer notices Henry and Wilson in battle and asks the lieutenant who the flag bearer is, saying, "He kep' th' flag 'way t' th' front. I saw 'im. He's a good un'"—crediting them with leading the whole charge.
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