A generation at war is touched in many ways, large and small, by the culture of the military. Here, an unidentified boy holds a toy sword in this Civil War era portrait. Why did he choose to pose with a sword? His father may have been a cavalryman, or perhaps he was inspired by romanticized engravings of combat he saw in Harper’s Weekly and other illustrated magazines. The photograph is from the studio of J.H. Abbott of Albany, N.Y.