Friday, December 7, 2012

General Order No. 11 (1863)

George Caleb Bingham painting of General Order No. 11. In this famous work General Thomas Ewing is seated on a horse watching the Red Legs.

General Order No. 11 is the title of a Union Army directive issued during the American Civil War on 25 August 1863, forcing the evacuation of rural areas in four counties in western Missouri. The order, issued by Union General Thomas Ewing, affected all rural residents regardless of their allegiance. Those who could prove their loyalty to the Union were permitted to stay in the affected area, but had to leave their farms and move to communities near military outposts. Those who could not do so had to vacate the area altogether.

While intended to deprive pro-Confederate guerrillas of material support from the rural countryside, the severity of the Order's provisions and the sometimes savage nature of its enforcement alienated vast numbers of civilians, and ultimately led to conditions in which the Rebel bushwhackers actually found themselves with even greater access to supplies than before. It was repealed in January 1864, as a new General took command of Union forces in the region. []

Missouri State Archives Presents: What Archaeology Can Reveal about General Order Number 11 from mosecofstate on Vimeo.

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