Death of a Patriot

Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, Bangor ME, 4 December 1865

The surrender of the Pensacola Navy Yard occurred in January 1861, not April. He was later honored by a memorial in his hometown of Camden, Maine in 1906.

William Conway, a native of Camden, Me., died at the Naval Hospital in New York on Thursday last in his sixty-third year. In 1861 he was a sailor in our navy, having served over forty years as an enlisted man. April 1861, he was stationed at the Warrenton (Pensacola) naval station, Florida, and was the man whom the traitor E. B. Renshaw of the old navy ordered to lower the United States flag on the secession of the state. Mr. Conway, in reply to his order, answered that he "couldn't do it." The order was repeated more positively. "Lieutenant," answered the old sailor, "I have served under that flag for forty years, and I won't do it." The rebel lieutenant did not insist. Shortly after Mr. Conway was sent North and remained during the war. He received from the citizens of San Francisco a gold medal commendatory of his gallant action on the occasion referred to, and this he had on his person at the time of his death, together with letters from Secretary Welles and Gen. Halleck praising him for his devotion to the flag.