General Order No. 11 is the title of a Union Army decree 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 loyalty.

Ewing's controversial order had greatly disrupted the lives of thousands of civilians, most of whom were certainly innocent of any guerrilla collaboration or attacks.

American artist George Caleb Bingham, who was staunchly pro-Union, called Order No. 11 an "act of imbecility" and wrote letters protesting it. Bingham wrote to Gen. Ewing, "If you execute this order, I shall make you infamous with pen and brush," and in 1868 created his famous painting reflecting the consequences of Ewing's harsh edict.

This visual project combines digital images of Bingham paintings with original string music composed by Dana Mengel and performed by The Mengel Brothers String Duo. Individual Bingham paintings inspired many of these original Mengel compositions which are part of series called “Prairie Dances.”

The painting is owned by the State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.


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