The war starts to become a more tangible threat in Chapter Three. Tim begins frequently employing the phrase, "Oh, I don't mean that," because he feels mixed, confused sentiments about the war. Tim is unwilling to spout maxims or generalities, because he does not believe in any stance wholeheartedly. His caution makes us believe in him as a credible, honest narrator. Tim starts to contrast with Sam, who races to uphold his beliefs and positions and knows exactly what he believes.

While Tim waits for Sam's return, his desire to win Sam's approval never wanes. Tim misses Sam and his boasts and stories, and he wants to boast in return of his "finally being able to throw a stone clear over the tavern…and about being best in school in arithmetic." Some of the most prominent thoughts in Tim's mind concern small ways to please and impress his older brother. Even with Sam away at war, Tim never entirely sheds his role as the younger brother. We also see Betsy's involvement in the rebel cause in the third chapter. Although as a woman, Betsy is not permitted to fight or help in any way, she is determined to help Sam nonetheless, and constantly attempts to eavesdrop at the tavern for any news that could help Sam.