The “Princeton and Slavery” issue masterfully detailed the antebellum Princeton history so closely linked to slavery. Northern and Southern sentiments regarding slavery were complex, and even Union and Confederate soldiers were not in uniform agreement on the issues for which they fought and died.
Josiah Simpson Studdiford 1858, a Northern Unionist, enlisted as a lieutenant in the 4th New Jersey Infantry regiment. This decision met with the disapprobation of his four brothers, all Princeton graduates. Thus his mother received his letters depicting battles and historic figures (now in the Princeton University archives).
To wit: He saw Lincoln (“Uncle Abe on horseback ... his legs thin make an appalling scene”) and McClellan (“his legs stout”), and was captured at Gaines’ Mill and sent to Richmond, where he met Gen. Robert E. Lee (“his treatment was exceeding courteous”). From Libby Prison, he wrote, “I lived on one hard cracker and half-cup of coffee a day ... Stonewall Jackson’s men live on such fare and fight on it and I am sure we ought to.” Exchanged back to the North, Josiah took command of the 4th NJ and on Aug. 27, 1862, he was ordered “to hold the Bridge at Bull Run”; then the chilling rebel yell of Stonewall’s Brigade rose, and the “greybacks began whanging away” — unleashing a hail of gunfire. Josiah retreated. He died two weeks thereafter leading a victorious charge at the Battle of South Mountain. He is buried at Lambertville, N.J.
Thus memorialized on the atrium wall in Nassau Hall — a Yankee who respected, even revered, his Confederate counterparts.