The Civil War forced many young boys out of childhood and into adulthood. Most
of these young boys were not prepared for war, and Henry Fleming was one of
Henry Fleming's life in New York was routine. He had his normal share of
friends and lived on a farm. When Henry got up in the mornings, he always knew
exactly what the day had in store for him. This simple and boring life drove
Henry to enlist.
Henry wanted some excitement and to be seen by everyone as a hero. He wanted to
be a man. However, his mother was strictly against his joining the Union Army.
She thought that the Army was for rough and uncivilized heathens.
His mother's greatest fear was that these heathens would influence Henry to
start drinking and swearing. Despite his mother's concerns, Henry enlisted in
But being in the Army wasn't enough, Henry was anxious to go to battle. All
along the way to his station he and his fellow recruits were treated kindly.
Old men patted them on their backs and young boys admired them when they stopped
for rest. This warm feeling faded when they reached the camp. Here life was
boring for Henry. The only thing his company did was drill day in and day out.
All of the experienced soldiers told war stories every night by the campfire.
Henry could only listen because he was still 'wet behind the ears'. He felt
left out and often sat alone wondering about battle. War was like an illusion
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