Port Jervis, NY Page3
Photos/text this page courtesy of Scott J. Payne, NY
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Stephen Crane House Port Jervis, New York
The Red Badge of Courage, published in 1895, remains the great novel of the Civil War. Stephen Crane was annoyed by those who sought to pin down a source for his inspiration, but students of the war have long tried to discover a precise historical context within which he could have framed his work. We know that he researched the war and spoke to many veterans, but the question still arises, was there a specific unit that was used as an inspiration for the fictional 304th New York.
Crane was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1871, but his family moved to Port Jervis, New York in 1878. Local folklore has it that the young Stephen would sit in Orange Square and talk to Union veterans about there experiences. Most of these men would have been part of the 124th NYVI, The Orange Blossoms. More than 1000 Orange Blossoms left Orange County in the fall of 1862, as an answer to the call by President Lincoln for more volunteers. They fought in most of the major engagements of the Eastern Theater, and among their members were five Medal of Honor recipients. Like Crane's 304th they faced heavy fire at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May of 1863. No proof has been found in any letters, diaries or conversations to prove that the 124th was the model for the 304th, but the evidence within the book proves to be very strong.
Stephen Crane never said whether any one unit served as his model for the 304th. His book is not the story of one man in one battle. The Red Badge of Courage is the story of a young boy who confronts his fears and overcomes them. Some inspiration must have been given from the veterans whom Crane spoke with in Orange Square.


(December 2008) Enlarge The Crane House, 19 East Main Street, Port Jervis, New York

(December 2008) New York State Marker. Home of Judge William Crane (Stephen's Brother). Now a law office



The Red Badge of Courage Novel

Stephen Crane At His Desk. Crane was 23 years old when The Red Badge of Courage was published. The red badge was a reference to the infamous crimson diamond insignia of the Kearny Division


Stephen Crane's Pond
This pond, located on Cold Spring Road about 7 miles from Cuddebackville, New York was the home of Edmund Crane. Edmund was the brother of Stephen Crane, author of The Red Badge of Courage. Stephen spent quite a bit of time here and wrote many of his books here. The stone house belonging to Edmund sits across the road from the beautiful Crane Pond.


(December 2008) Enlarge Stephen Crane Pond, Cold Spring Road , near Cuddebackville, New York


(December 2008) New York State Marker. Stephen Crane's Pond

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