Although there is a difference of opinion among some historians, Ben Jackson’s obituary says he was born on the Old Post Road, now Lockhartville. He grew to be a strong, stalwart, six-foot lad and began his sea-going career on local ships, alternating his voyages with Captain John Toy, Capt. Benjamin Nason and Capt. George King. He took a brief leave from the sea to marry Rachel Carter of Windsor, and they had five children.
Back at sea in 1864 from his farm in Lockhartville, Jackson sailed in to New York during the last year of the U.S. Civil War. Both sides (South and North) allowed a draftee to pay a substitute to serve for him. Thus it was, May 21 of that year, Jackson accepted a three-year enlistment in the U.S. Navy fighting for the North under the name Lewis Saunders; Louis Saunders paid the government $300 for the substitution.
As captain of gun #10 aboard the USS Richmond, Jackson fought an intense battle at Mobile Bay, Alabama and aided in the successful capture of this Confederate stronghold, despite torpedoes littering the harbour. When clearing the Mississippi River of mines, one exploded on deck, killing several men. Jackson was severely injured and sent to naval hospital in Pensacola, Florida, and then on to hospital in New York.
June 2, 1865, Jackson was honorably discharged from active military duty and awarded a Civil War Medal. He received $900 prize money from the vessels seized by the ship he was on, and received his pension under the name Lewis Saunders - $17 per month - until the age of 75, when he received $20.
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After a long period of recovery, he went back to sea sailing on Churchill ships out of Hantsport. Jackson was later well known in Hants and Kings counties, where he peddled fish and home grown vegetables, driving his black horse, Jack.
Jackson died August 20, 1915 at the age of 83. His obituary, published in the September 1, 1915 edition of the Hants Journal, stated: “his funeral held on Aug. 22, was the largest seen in Lockhartville for many years.”
The June 12 unveiling will feature the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the re-enactment of the memorial service performed during the American Civil War, complete with period costumes and muskets. Various dignitaries will be in attendance. The general public is invited. From this occasion on, it is hoped the name Ben Jackson will mean more than the road named after him.
For more on the re-enactment, see this story.