The Question and Answer section for The Red Badge of Courage is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
I think that was Wilson who is now referred to as "the friend".
The soldiers were in long wet grass so Henry uses the metaphor of the men as as reptiles with the glimmer of their rifles.
From the text:
The youth looked once for his friend. He saw a vehement young man, powder-smeared and frowzled, whom he knew to be him. The lieutenant, also, was unscathed in his position at the rear. He had continued to curse, but it was now with...