George Caleb Bingham’s Painting, Orders No. 11

For anyone interested in the Red Leg's a clandestine group of Kansas marauders who operated in Missouri from 1861 onward under the authority of Brig. Gen. James Blunt, District of Kansas, and Brig. Gen. Thomas Ewing, Jr., District of Missouri, take a look at a representation of  George Caleb Bingham's famous painting, Order's no. 11. This will give you some insight into the horrendous situation Missourians faced during the Civil War: 

The following describes how many Red Legs I discovered in Bingham's painting after a close examination I made of the painting. I wanted to determine how many verifiable Red Legs there are in this painting, I mean how many men are either wearing the red leggings where they are viewable or have black plumes in their hats, part of the Red Leg uniform. The answer is five at present. There may be many more of them in the picture, but I cannot be sure they are Red Legs. The fellow, some say it's Jennison without absolute proof, who is holstering his gun in the foreground center of the painting, is wearing the classic black plume in his hat and red leggings. He is No. 1 Red Leg. The man directly to the left of this man in the painting, No. 2 Red Leg, is also wearing a plumed hat, so he is also a Red Leg. Ewing is shown riding a horse and wearing a blue coat and wrestling with a large object in the left center of the painting. Does anyone have any idea what it is? No. 3 Red Leg, is immediately behind and to the right of Ewing in the painting. He's wearing a black plume in his hat. No. 4 Red Leg is standing behind the previous Red Leg, loading loot onto a wagon. You cannot see his black plume, but in good light and perhaps a magnifying glass you can see his Red Leggings, faint but clearly apparent. The final Red Leg is harder to identify but is one also, No. 5. He is at the left of the painting riding a white, blooded horse and wearing a white shirt open at the neck. On his lap is the traditional Southern lady's basket where she kept her keys and valuables. He is making off with, stealing, what is in the basket. He has a little more untraditional apparel, the white shirt open at the neck and was known to dress more foppishly that the other Red Legs. His left leg shows he is wearing the traditional red Leggings also. He is George Hoyt, the known field leader of the Red Legs, who was known to be a flashy dresser. Hoyt, four years before Orders no. 11 was instituted, was the lead lawyer for the defense in the trial of John Brown who was found guilty of treason and executed for that crime. Afterwards, Hoyt was involved in an attempt to break John Brown out of jail (page 98, my book, Civil War on the Missouri-Kansas Border), but was thwarted by the effectiveness of the guards assigned to hold Brown. The overall head of the Red Legs from mid-1862 onward was Col. Charles Jennison. Before that time, Jennison had been arrested for trying to start his own independent military force and was carried in chains by the Union Army to the Fifth Street Military Prison and placed under heavy guard by Provost Marshal B. G. Farrar, who warned Jennison's guards, that if he was "not well guarded he will escape and return to this country, where he knows every lane and bush, and all the troops in the state will be unable  to recapture him. [from my book, page 151]." Jennison's powerful friends managed to have him released. Whereupon, with the covert support of Generals Blunt and Ewing, he formed the Red Legs, and as we see in the painting by Bingham worked with Ewing in enforcing Orders no. 11 and apparently, in the scene shown, is killing a Missouri planter and robbing and burning his home. Many other homes in the same image are being destroyed. Nine or ten homes are burning in the background. This was the situation all over Missouri.

Donald L Gilmore © 2014 quantrillguerrillas.com "Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this or copyrighted essay." 

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