General Order No. 11 - 1863
General Order No. 11 is the title of a Union Army directive issued during the American Civil War on August 25, 1863, forcing the evacuation of rural areas in four counties in western Missouri. The order, issued by Union General Thomas Ewing, Jr., 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 (see villagization). 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 nature of its enforcement alienated vast numbers of civilians, and ultimately led to conditions in which guerrillas were given greater support and access to supplies than before. It was repealed in January 1864, as a new general took command of Union forces in the region.
More than 140 years later, towns impacted by General Order No. 11 are still less developed than their neighbors.