As the S.S. Massanabie approaches land, a violent storm overtakes the ship. All of the soldiers are brought up to the upper decks for safety and forced to remain silent and without light. One night, Battery Sergeant-Major Joyce comes to Robert’s bunk to tell him that one of the horses has broken its leg. Robert will have to shoot the horse, since he is a Second Lieutenant and only the officers have guns.
Robert’s obligation to shoot the injured horse shows that young men tend to overly romanticize war; while the idea of attaining honor and glory in combat is appealing, the reality of Robert’s duties as a Second Lieutenant is anything but glamorous. The fact that Robert is the one that will have to shoot the horse is ironic, since he was so disturbed by the killing of Rowena’s rabbits. It seems that he cannot escape the trauma of death, no matter how his environment changes.