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Civil War

Unlike the Revolution, the Civil War left no physical scars on the College of New Jersey. The invisivle scars, on the other hand, were many and deep.

Before the war, the College had drawn as much as a third of its student body from the Southern states. It was acceptable for a Southern gentleman to educate his son at Princeton, as opposed to at the abolitionist hotbeds of Harvard or Yale. Almost all of the Southern students dropped out on the outbreak of the war -- of the 15 members of the class of 1864 who hailed from secessionist states, none returned for the 1862-3 academic year. Enrollment plummeted further when many Northerners joined the Union Army.

Seventy Princetonians are known to have died in the Civil War. The College itself almost became a casualty of the war as well, as the low enrollment saw the College in its the bleakest financial condition since the bleak days of the 1820s.