Civil War & Reconstruction Trail to Freedom Moncure Daniel Conway’s Account

Moncure Daniel Conway’s Account

“It had been long since tidings concerning my relatives in Virginia had reached me. A small parcel containing an old china cup and saucer and a silver spoon had been sent me from Washington at the request of a Union soldier who had saved them from the wreck of things at Conway House, Falmouth. These relics connected with a curious incident. When the Union army under General McDowell entered Falmouth they found the village deserted by the whites. My father was in Fredericksburg and my two brothers far away in the Confederate ranks. The house was left empty and locked up, the house servants remaining in their abode in the back yard. Yet as the Union soldiers were filing past a shot was fired from a window of Conway House, or from a corner of its yard, and a soldier wounded. It was never known who fired the shot; our negroes assured me that the house was locked and watched. The Union soldiers, alarmed and enraged, battered down the doors, and, finding no one, began vengeance on the furniture. It happened, however, that in my mother’s bedroom was hung a portrait of myself, and this caught the eye of a youth who had known me in Washington. He cried to his furious comrades to stop. The servants were called in, and were much relieved when they found it was speak of my portrait. Old Eliza cried, ‘It’s Mars’ Monc the preacher, as good an abolitionist as any of you!’ It was some consolation to me that, though long regarded as the black sheep of the family, my portrait saved Conway House from destruction.”