William Conway

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William Conway
Born 1802[1] or 1808[2]
Camden, Maine
Died November 30, 1865[3]
Brooklyn, New York
Occupation Quartermaster, Union Navy

William Conway was a quartermaster in the United States (Union) Navy, on duty when the Navy Yard was surrendered to the Confederacy on January 12, 1861. When Conway was ordered[4] to strike the colors, he refused to do so, reportedly stating either "I have served under that flag for forty years, and I won't do it,"[5] or "That is the flag of my country. I have given my life to it. I will not haul it down."[6] Conway was subsequently jailed for his indignation.

After his release Conway was commended by the Secretary of the Navy and awarded a gold medal by the State of California. Two U.S. naval destroyers have been named in his honor.


  1. Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1888. p. 712.
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. Sources disagree on who exactly gave the order.
  5. Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1888. p. 712.
  6. Maine, My State], 1919. p. 268.