The Red Badge of Courage

What is the battle scene like when they first come to it?

In chapter 15

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The fog-filled air is full of the noise from muskets and cannons. A new day of battle begins. The regiment is to relieve men in trenches, sitting with their backs to them and listening to the occasional pop of a skirmisher's rifle. Henry peers over at the trees up and down the trench line. Cannons on the right begin to roar with such volume that no one can hear each other speak. They eventually stop, and then the rumors begin to fly. The men say their commanders are hesitating and uncertain. Disaster stories are concocted and they whine about what more they can do.

Soon the men are marching through the woods, away from the trenches. The lines of the enemy can be seen through the groves. Now the youth joins in the condemnation of the generals. His words are long and elaborate. He asks rhetorical questions about the strength of the regiment and their fighting ability. Wilson attempts to ameliorate the harshness of his words, saying that maybe the generals should not be fully blamed. Henry asks passionately if the regiment does not fight better than any other, as the general had said yesterday. The friend replies sternly that they do, but they just have bad luck. The youth says that therefore this must be the general's fault. A sarcastic soldier replies to Henry that maybe he thinks that he, Henry, fought the whole battle yesterday.