Flashing forward to the present day, the narrator says that the scene in the prologue “happened a long time ago,” but not so long ago that everyone involved is dead. In the present day, when other soldiers who were there are asked what happened, they avoid answering. These men will sometimes weep or exclaim “that bastard!” when asked specifically about the horses. It is revealed that Robert Ross somehow died in a fire. Many other soldiers also succumbed to violent fates that tend to command people’s attention.
Rather than remembering Robert as a hero, his fellow soldiers still harbor blame toward him decades after the scene in the prologue took place. Clausewitz’s warning in the epigraph seems to be a prophecy that Robert fulfilled, yet what happened to horses and what led him to die in a fire is left a mystery for the reader.