Henry Fleming, also called the youth, is the main character in The Red Badge of Courage. He decided to enlist in the army in hopes of gaining experience and being a part of the war. Although his mother was against him joining the army, Henry wanted the adventure and glory of being part of the war. Henry had many battles to fight within himself. He put off the facade that he was a very confident and strong soldier.

But in actuality he was very unsure of himself. He always would question his own masculinity and whether or not he would run or fight in battle when the time came. Henry meets two men in is regiment that he calls the tall soldier and the loud soldier. They all go through the new experience of being in war together. Later on when they get into battle Henry still has fears of fleeing the battle field. When the time comes to face the enemy Henry ended up running into the woods like many others.

After he finds his way back to the regiment he sees what the battle has done to the soldiers. Many of his friends, including the tall soldier, died. Others were wounded. He in a way felt jealous because he didn't have that wound, "red badge of courage" that they had to show. Henry continued on in the woods and came across a soldier.

He tried to help him but the soldiers wouldn't let him. In the disagreement the other soldier struck Henry with his gun. Henry went back to his camp and all of the men thought he had been wounded in the battle. He went along with this and many thought of him as brave. The next day Henry had new insight and was not afraid of the battles. He became a leader in his regiment and had no fear.

His own "red badge of courage" now turned him into a strong fighter. The loud soldier and him led their regiment and got the attention from the officers and other men who called them heroes. The battle ends and Henry is grateful to leave alive. He learned many things from the war. He felt that he accomplished a lot and grew into a mature man.