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In October, accompanied by several other farmers, Mr. Jones tries to recapture Animal Farm. Snowball has already trained the animals for war, however, and they take their defensive positions. The smaller animals attack the men and then pretend to retreat into the yard in defeat. Once the men follow, the larger animals ambush them. Mr. Jones kills one sheep and wounds Snowball several times with his gun, but the animals manage to overpower the humans. Boxer is thought to have killed a stable-lad, which upsets the stalwart horse. But it turns out that the boy is only injured, and he flees with the other men. The only animal who does not fight is Mollie, whom the animals discover cowering in her stall.
After the battle, the animals sing “Beasts of England” yet again. They invent a military honor called “Animal Hero, First Class,” which they bestow upon Snowball and Boxer. Then they bury the fallen sheep and confer upon him posthumously the title of “Animal Hero, Second Class.” The animals decide to call this conflict the Battle of the Cowshed. The agree to fire Mr. Jones’s gun into the air twice a year, on the anniversaries of the battle (October 12) and of the Rebellion (Midsummer’s Eve).