William H. Jackson letter requesting employee exemption from Civil War draft, 1862


In this letter, William H. Jackson, owner of the Oriental Powder Company, writes to his attorney and friend, Thomas Deblois, of Portland, asking him to speak with Maine Governor Israel Washburn about exempting Oriental Powder’s three dozen employees from the draft.

Given that the company, located on the Presumpscot River in Windham, produced up to 25 percent of the Union gunpowder during the Civil War, Jackson felt the men provided an essential service to the country. Governor Washburn agreed to the request and granted the exemption.


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