Drew Blue & Grey

On the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, a look at the men, all with ties to Drew, who played every conceivable role in the conflict.

Illustration by Anthony Freeda
Words By Mary Jo Patterson

The President

Theologian John McClintock, Drew’s first president from 1867–70 (and Daniel Drew’s former pastor at St. Paul’s Church in New York). Promoted the Union cause from Paris, where he was minister of the American Chapel and wrote for The Times of London.

The Trustees

Methodist bishop Matthew Simpson, trustee 1868–1885, board president 1877–1880. Baptized at birth by Francis Asbury. Confidant of Lincoln, sermonized at his funeral. Gave speeches on behalf of the Union.

Clinton B. Fisk, trustee 1876–1891. Union brigadier general, 33rd Regiment, Missouri Infantry. Fought in the Battle of Nashville. Wrote a letter to fellow trustee Simpson to ask Lincoln if Fisk could be moved up in rank from colonel to general. Founded Fisk University.

The Professor

Homer Baxter Sprague, professor of elocution 1896–99. Wrote articles denouncing slavery before the war. Served as colonel of Company H of the 13th Connecticut Volunteers and was wounded in Louisiana.

The Confederates

William Heyward Gibbons, son of the Georgia plantation owner who built the mansion that is now Mead Hall. Fought with the 2nd Battalion Georgia Cavalry. Received 5,200 acres in Georgia and 71 slaves from his father but returned to New Jersey, where he died.

Lloyd Tilghman, a brigadier general with the 3rd Kentucky Infantry. Killed in the Battle of Champion Hill in Mississippi in 1863. In 1915 his son Sidell, a wealthy widower, married a woman whose family owned Tilghman House, currently home to Drew’s registrar.

The Seminarians

At least nine Union soldiers enrolled at Drew after the war, including the Rev. Henry C. Langley, an Ohio Cavalry member imprisoned at the Confederates’ notorious Libby Prison in Richmond, Va., and the Rev. Edward H. Roys, who served with Connecticut’s 2nd Regiment and witnessed Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

The Profiteer

Founder Daniel Drew, an uneducated cattle trader from upstate New York, built himself a transportation empire after wresting control of the Erie Railroad in 1855. Believed to have profited from the Civil War by renting steamboats to President Lincoln to transport Union soldiers.


Gladly Laid Upon the Country’s Altar: American Methodists in the Civil War 

September 23–November 23
Rose Memorial Library and the United Methodist Archives and History Center

Exhibit curated by Christopher Anderson G’04,’06

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