This short piece of American literature is a descriptive prose depicting a scene in the American Civil War. An unnamed lieutenant is wounded at his right arm while resting with the rest of his troops during an active battle. The story enables the readers to take part on the lieutenant’s perceptions on what is happening and how the battle was shaped and he is a participant or a victim of a battle unknown to him.
The battle is fierce and tumultuous; it was able to take the innocent lives and anything on its way. All of this thinking happened while the lieutenant passed the line of the battle, while he was in search of the field hospital. At the hospital, the wounded officer had a brief and unpleasant encounter with a surgeon who is rude and lied to him, saying that his arm will not be amputated.
The story was able to envelop the soft and meek side of an army officer in a few lines of dialogue of having his right arm amputated. In the end, the lieutenant went along with the surgeon for a medical procedure but end up losing his arm. The army officer felt ashamed when he got home to his family and showing an empty sleeve. He was a victim of a war that could have been avoided and he will not have to lose his arm.