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Although the Civil War had ended over thirty years before, it loomed large in the imagination of these boys photographed acting out their romanticized vision of Union artillerymen in battle. Civil War veterans commonly visited schools in this period to relate their experiences to a younger generation, much as the veterans of later wars did and still do today. Thomas Ashley (1894-1918) of Deerfield, Massachusetts, holds the flag, unknowingly rehearsing for his own role as a soldier in World War I, when he was killed at Chateau-Thierry in 1918 at the age of 24.