District of the Border Headquarters

The Pacific House Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. Image courtesy of the Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library.

Notable Events:

  • General Orders No. 11 (August 25, 1863)
  • General Orders No. 20 (November 20, 1863)
  • District of the Border Placed Under Command of General Egbert Brown (January 1864)

The Pacific House Hotel opened near the present-day City Market in Kansas City in 1860, just prior to the beginning of the Civil War. In 1863, it became the District of the Border headquarters, which was then under command of Brigadier General Thomas Ewing Jr. From these offices, General Ewing issued the infamous Order No. 11, which depopulated Jackson, Cass, Bates, and northern Vernon Counties, with the exception of specified military posts and cities. Under pressure from those who considered the measure to be too harsh, General Ewing issued General Orders No. 20, allowing limited resettlement, and his successor, General Egbert Brown, began allowing more residents to return home in January 1864, after swearing loyalty to the Union. The measure largely ended the guerrilla activities that had plagued the region, but critics referred to the remains of the area as the "Burnt District." To this day, the debate over Order No. 11 remains contentious, and the Pacific House Hotel still stands with historical markers nearby.