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The Youth goes toward the fire, hesitantly and still fearful of ridicule. He has no strength to make up a story about where he has been. Wilson, who is the Loud Private from the first chapter, is delighted to see Henry alive and calls out to him. The Youth tells him he got separated from the regiment during the terrible fighting and that he got shot in the head. Wilson says men keep showing up "every ten minutes or so." He then helps Henry into camp and gives him his own canteen of coffee. The Corporal looks at his head, guesses that he has been grazed by a cannon ball, and dresses the wound with Wilson's help. The exhausted Henry goes to sleep under Wilson's blankets.
In this chapter, Crane shows how Henry's wound makes a real difference for him. Because of his ironic "red badge of courage," Henry is no longer isolated. He returns to his regiment, and because he is injured, he does not face the scorn and accusations he has dreaded. He does not even have to make up a story to cover his desertion. It is assumed that Henry has acted honorably in battle and has been wounded in the process, probably by a cannon ball. As a result, the Youth is nurtured by his fellow soldiers. After his wounds are tended, the happy and relieved Youth lies down "with a murmur of relief and comfort" and falls quickly to sleep under blankets offered to him by Wilson, a fellow soldier. The hard ground feels like a soft couch to the exhausted Henry.
It is important to note the changes found in both Henry and Wilson. For the first time in the novel, the Youth seems to really feel a part of the regiment. As he did with the cheerful soldier, he accepts the help of Wilson and the Corporal without hesitation. He is relieved to be accepted, rather than ridiculed, by them. It is the first time the Youth is pictured as being happy since he has joined the war effort. Wilson is also changed. He is no longer the loud and boastful soldier seen in the beginning of the book. He is now kind and thoughtful, as seen when he gently cares for Henry. He even allows the Youth to sleep under his own blankets. Both of these soldiers have been greatly affected by their war experiences.