Upon hearing about his regiment's surprising victory, Henry feels as guilty as a criminal. He resents the "stupidity" of his fellow soldiers who stayed to fight. On the contrary, Henry feels he had assessed the situation rationally and, by running, saved the army at least one of its soldiers. But he thinks his regiment won't understand that and will hate him.
Confused and mentally anguished, Henry wanders into the thick woods. He throws a pine cone at a squirrel who runs off. Henry is pleased to interpret this as a sign: he reasons that it's nature's law to run from danger. Henry feels in harmony with Nature.
To deal with his guilt, Henry interprets the squirrel incident as proof of Nature's sympathy. He has a deep need for approval from somewhere, and his mind keeps searching for it.
Henry pushes deeper into the silent woods to a grove with high branches that resembles a chapel. In this "chapel," Henry is horrified to discover a Union soldier's corpse. Ants are running over its discolored face and swarming up to its dull eyes, and one carries off a piece of flesh. Henry screams, but stays and stares into the dead man's eyes. He slowly paces backward, afraid that the corpse will jump up or call after him, and then he flees in terror.