Even some Unionists considered the proposal harsh. One such person was well-known artist George Caleb Bingham, who vowed to make Ewing infamous if he carried out the order. Most Union observers, however, thought the stern measure was necessary, and Ewing went ahead and issued the order.
The order had the intended effect. Many residents in the designated region complied with the order willingly, albeit grudgingly, but some had to be forced from their homes by squads of armed Union soldiers. The entire border on the Missouri side for a hundred miles south of Kansas City became desolated and depopulated almost overnight.
True to his word, Bingham soon set out to make Ewing infamous for what the artist saw as the general's cruelty by undertaking a painting depicting a family brutally treated, forced off their land, and having their property burned by a band of irregular Federal soldiers, or Red Legs. The painting shows Ewing in the background calmly watching the carnage. Formally titled "The Civil War," the painting had an uneven reception when it was completed in 1868. Predictably enough, many ex-Confederates and Confederate sympathizers praised the painting, and the work did taint Ewing's legacy to some extent.
Bingham wrote a letter the very next day responding to the writer's criticism, calling it "grossly unjust." Bingham thought the critic either completely misunderstood the painting or willfully misrepresented it. Bingham said that he himself was a Union soldier during the war and that he would never disparage regular Federal soldiers. However, he contended that most of the work carrying out Order No. 11 was done by jayhawkers, Red Legs, and other irregular or outlaw Federal bands
Although Bingham continued to forcefully defend his painting, his career as an artist, in the end, arguably suffered more because of the painting, which came to be called "Order No. 11," than Ewing's political career did. Ewing went on to serve two terms as a US congressman from Ohio and, running as a Democrat in 1879, he narrowly lost a bid to become the state's governor. Whether "Order No. 11" contributed to that defeat is a subject of some scholarly debate. Meanwhile, Bingham's career as an artist suffered after the release of "Order No. 11." During the remainder of his life, his work was never as highly regarded as it had been before the controversial painting, although interest in his art did enjoy a revival long after his death.