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Hanley Farm likely fed local soldiers

In my younger days, I remember visiting Hanley Farm and Mary Hanley with my grandparents, and I don't ever remember anything about the Civil War being discussed as having a connection to the farm. So I was surprised at the statement in your paper from Greg Smith as to Hanley Farm supplying produce, meat and eggs to Union soldiers. Could you please explain the logistics of this. Were there Union soldiers here? Or, in the days of no refrigeration, how did they get supplies as stated to where Northern soldiers were?

— No name given

Located between Jacksonville and Central Point, Hanley Farm may in fact have supplied food to soldiers at Camp Baker near Phoenix and Fort Klamath south of Crater Lake during the Civil War.

"It's entirely likely. They had troops, and they needed to be fed," local archaeologist Jeff LaLande said. "There was no such thing as refrigeration, and they needed local produce. As far as the local produce going all the way to the eastern United States to feed Union soldiers, I'm positive that never happened."

The Union built Camp Baker as a post for volunteer soldiers after the Army's regular troops in the West were sent to the war.

The Rogue Valley was home to anti-slavery Union immigrants, as well as backers of the secessionist South.

"There was some strong local feeling during the Civil War between people for the South and people for the Union," LaLande said. "It was a war of words. There were a lot of accusations of disloyalty and tyranny. The war was far away, but it was of very immediate concern to local people."

Local historian Ben Truwe said it's possible Hanley Farm provided food to Camp Baker, but he believes vegetables and eggs would have been sourced from adjacent farms.

Correspondence from 1864 shows Michael Hanley was providing beef to Native Americans at Fort Klamath, which suggests he may also have been a vendor to the military department at the fort, Truwe said.

Hanley had cattle in the Little Butte Creek drainage north of Medford at the time, Truwe said.

If Hanley Farm was supplying produce to Camp Baker, it wasn't enough to satisfy the soldiers there, at least according to one account.

In the Camp Baker diary of recruit David Hobart Taylor, he complained about being fed meat, bread and coffee again and again for dinner.

The details of what food, if any, Hanley Farm supplied to soldiers during the Civil War may never be known with certainty.

The Civil War ended in 1865, but Hanley Farm account books are known to exist only from 1869 on, according to the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

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