George Caleb Bingham
Order Number 11


George Caleb Bingham's, Order No 11 - 1868


Missourian, George Caleb Bingham, was a successful artist, politician and pro Union man. But Bingham was also terribly shaken and horrified at General Thomas Ewing's issuance of General Order Number 11.

Even as a staunch Unionist, Bingham was appalled by the consequences of Order Number 11 and wrote to General Thomas Ewing saying: "If you execute this order, I shall make you infamous with pen and brush."

Bingham was in the epicenter of Kansas City, Missouri at the time of the issuance and execution of Order 11 and personally witnessed the carnage - where he accordingly describing the events:

"It is well-known that men were shot down in the very act of obeying the order, and their wagons and effects seized by their murderers. Large trains of wagons, extending over the prairies for miles in length, and moving Kansasward, were freighted with every description of household furniture and wearing apparel belonging to the exiled inhabitants. Dense columns of smoke arising in every direction marked the conflagrations of dwellings, many of the evidences of which are yet to be seen in the remains of seared and blackened chimneys, standing as melancholy monuments of a ruthless military despotism which spared neither age, sex, character, nor condition. There was neither aid nor protection afforded to the banished inhabitants by the heartless authority which expelled them from their rightful possessions. They crowded by hundreds upon the banks of the Missouri River, and were indebted to the charity of benevolent steamboat conductors for transportation to places of safety where friendly aid could be extended to them without danger to those who ventured to contribute it."

Thereupon after witnessing the attrocity and previously appealing to Ewing; Bingham set out on his masterpiece of historical importance. With the simple words of "It will be adequate", Bingham brushed the famous painting "Order Number 11."

Kansans were angry over Quantrill's Lawreence raid that was pay back for the September 23, 1861 massacre and burning of Osceola. Ewing's order came from radical Senator James Lane to lead a jayhawking raid through Missouri that would destroy more than four Missouri counties. On September 9, 1863, Lane gathered nearly a thousand Kansans at Paola, Kansas, and marched towards Westport, Missouri, with an eye towards destruction of that town. Ewing also sent several companies of his old Eleventh Kansas to help Lane's advance. For whatever reason, Lane Stopped that attack.

Ewing ordered his troops to engage in looting and other depredations, and the jayhawkers were simply nothing short of barbarous and savage. Most were Kansas volunteers who regarded all Missourians as "rebels" to be punished. Animals and farm property were stolen or destroyed; houses, barns and outbuildings burned to the ground. The four counties became a devastated "no-man's-land", with only charred chimneys and burnt stubble showing where homes and thriving communities had once stood.

Ewing's order was allowed to stand, and Schofield would later describe it as "wise and just; in fact, a necessity."

For the ages and future generations to see, George Caleb Bingham painted a masterpiece of Ewing's evil and cruel war crime. Legendary guerrilla Frank James commented upon seeing the painting, "This is a picture that speaks."

In this famous work General Thomas Ewing is seated on a horse watching the Red Legs destroy the innocent people of Missouri..

The historical painting, which is centered around General Ewing, complete with his "red legs", is a scene that no human should have ever endured. The painting depicts the horror, tragedy, suffering, death & destruction of innocent Missourians who General Ewing demonically terrorized.

This painting is one of the most stirring and haunting works ever laid to canvas. It shows the extreme means in which the innocent men, women and children of Missouri were treated by such scoundrels as General Ewing.

Noted author and historian Albert Castel would later write:

"Order Number 11 was the most drastic and repressive military measures directed against civilians by by the Union Army during the Civil War. In fact, it stands as the harshest treatment ever imposed on United States citizens under the plea of military necessity in our Nations History."










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