Walking in the Footsteps of The Red Badge of Courage

Earlier this month, Sarah Kay Bierle wrote a post in our “Under Fire” series about Henry Fleming from Stephen Crane’s monumental Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage. (Read Sarah’s post here.) That inspired Jon Tracey to write a follow-up piece earlier this week in which he talked about the story’s universality. (Read Jon’s post here.) Sarah, in turn, wrote a follow-up to Jon’s follow-up, outlining some of the textual clues that place the novel at Chancellorsville. (Read Sarah’s second post here.)

Back in 2020, as part of an online fund-raiser for Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, I did a video tour that traced the footsteps of the fictional Henry Fleming through the novel and across what might have been the Chancellorsville battlefield. As Sarah points out, there are many bits of evidence to suggest the novel was set at Chancellorsville, but not everything matches up. Fleming’s battle, for instance, last only two days instead of three. It’s tricky business—although, as you’ll see from watching the tour, it was also immensely fun!

(And if you liked the video, please consider supporting CVBT’s important mission of preserving battlefield land at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House. Find out more here.)

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