This year marks the sesquicentennial of three military orders issued by General Thomas Ewing, Jr. in August 1863, known as Order No. 9, Order No. 10 and Order No. 11.
Under Order No. 9, all slaves living in Northern Vernon, Bates, Cass and Jackson Counties and owned by rebels, guerrillas or their sympathizers were granted their freedom. Order No. 9 was an extension of the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. Ultimately, the American Civil War ended the curse of slavery in the United States.
Under Order No. 10, all rebels, guerrillas or their sympathizers living in Northern Vernon, Bates, Cass and Jackson Counties were given 15 days to vacate their land.
Under Order No. 11, all citizens, regardless of their loyalty to the Confederacy or the Union, living in the Counties of Northern Vernon, Bates, Cass (except those living within one mile of Harrisonville and Pleasant Hill) and Jackson (except for those living within one mile of Westport, Kansas City, Hickman’s Mill and Independence) were ordered off their property within 15 days.
Jackson County suffered more than all other counties as approximately 14,000 residents were compelled to leave their property under Order No. 11.
Order No. 11 was issued as a military measure after one of the most egregious terrorist attacks launched upon civilians: the raid of William Quantrill and his guerilla forces upon Lawrence, Kansas on August 21, 1863 in which approximately 200 people were killed.
The story of Order No. 11 remains shrouded in debate and controversy by the progenies of its antagonists and protagonists. It has become enshrined in the law of military necessity and the artistic fabric of the 19th Century.
The Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham provided on canvas and for posterity the notoriety of Order No. 11. Bingham was a strong Union supporter, anti-Confederate, Union Captain in Kansas City and Missouri State Treasurer during the Civil War. Bingham and many other strong Union men considered Order No. 11 to have been the greatest outrage ever imposed upon a civil population by a military despot. Bingham met General Ewing at Ewing’s headquarters at the Pacific House in Kansas City and demanded the recession of Order No. 11. When Ewing refused, Bingham proclaimed one day he would make Ewing infamous by his pen and brush, and he did with his paintings of Martial Law.
The story of the Solomon Young Family is similar in many ways to that of many other residents of Jackson County in 1863—a family of divided loyalties. Solomon Young was a strong Union man while his wife Harriett (Gregg) Young was a southern sympathizer. The entire family was banished from their southern Jackson County property (within the City of Grandview today). Of their family possessions, they were only able to remove that which could be loaded into one wagon. Their little ten-year old daughter Martha “Mattie” Ellen trudged behind their rickety wagon and traveled northward down a hot, humid and dust-filled road into Kansas City. Later in life little “Mattie” married Anderson Truman. Solomon and Harriett Gregg were the maternal grandparents and Mattie was the mother of the “Man from Independence” President Harry S. Truman.
The meaning, purpose and ramification of Order No. 11 continue to be part of a modern America faced with national and international terrorism. The sensitive balance between the Government’s police powers to preserve and protect the Nation against the fundamental substantive civil rights of its citizens were as hotly considered during the Civil War as they are today. Examples of the overlapping legal and military issues include the following: whether psychological measures may be used to elicit information to quash rebellion or terrorism; whether insurgents or non-combatants may be arrested on mere suspicion and not upon probable cause when National Security is at issue; whether private property may be seized without due process during emergency circumstances; whether civilian or military terrorists should be tried in civil or military courts; whether military necessity or exigent circumstances override civil liberties; whether social profiling should be conducted to protect against terrorist threats or attacks; or whether the Bill of Rights may be restricted or abolished when National Security is at risk. These questions were directly or indirectly at the fabric of Order No. 11 in 1863.
Today’s “Border War” between Missouri and Kansas had its genesis during the Civil War and climaxed with the issuance of Order No. 11 in 1863. This “Border War” theme remains part of the ongoing business, political and sports climate along the border today. To encourage businesses to relocate from Missouri to Kansas, taxes have been relaxed in Kansas. State officials in Missouri have responded in kind by considering legislation to avoid the loss of businesses to Kansas. No one can forget the sports’ rivalry between KU and MU—simply publicized as the “Border War.”
Jackson County Parks + Rec and the Jackson County Historical Society along with its partners, Wornall-Majors Historic Sites and the Delaware Merchants Association of Kansas City in conjunction with Wide Awake Films believe that the historical events surrounding the issuance of Order No. 9, Order No. 10 and Order No. 11 provide a tremendous educational opportunity to learn the truth of these Orders, their impact upon its citizens and their far-reaching impact upon our community today.