I write to add details to my classmate Jim Anderson’s ’70 fine letter regarding the Princeton-Rutgers Centennial Cannon Hoax that occurred 50 years ago this year.
Although we created the illusion that Rutgers had stolen the Cornwallis cannon, Rutgers students did, in fact, show up on the Princeton campus that very night to wreak havoc. Our team of conspirators were observing the scene around Cannon Green and Whig Hall for the optimal conditions to dig beside the little cannon (the subject of the 19th-century Princeton-Rutgers “Cannon War”) when our suspicions were aroused by several dark-clothed young men slinking from tree to tree, cartoon-style, behind Nassau Hall.
Fearing that they would blow our cover, we confronted them. Ed Labowitz ’70 asked them if they were planning to steal the clapper. When the reply came back, “The what ???” we knew we were dealing with aliens. Suddenly, Dale Stulz ’73 yelled, “Let’s get ‘em, boys!” and the intruders turned heel and ran. We discovered that they had painted Big Cannon red and had painted red “R’s” on the elm trees. After we repainted Big Cannon black, all was quiet until the digging began -- well after midnight -- at Little Cannon adjacent to Whig Hall.