Having introduced Telegin and Roshchin as Red and White army soldiers the narrative then moves to focus on both of their wives. Katia is devastated when she is informed that her husband has died and so she decides to leave Rostock and head off because she is heartbroken and cannot imagine sitting waiting for a man who never comes.
Her decision to travel ties one of the main characters into events happening in the German occupied areas of the Ukraine after partisans capture her.
Meanwhile back in Petrograd Dasha is also grieving for a lost life and finally starts to grieve for her lost love. An old collection of poetry sparks a trip down memory lane and the tears start to flow. She is interrupted by a letter being delivered from Katia that tells of her loss and her desolation.
At this point in the civil war the White’s were optimistic about their chances of smashing the Reds. The Czech soldiers that had gone native in Siberia created problems for Lenin and company. As the tide turns against the Reds the arrogance starts to come pout from the officer class and you sense that Tolstoy is setting them up graphically for a real fall.