Virgil Henry Moats papers  1862-1865
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Moats, Virgil Henry, 1827-1863

Rank : Captain, Major (1863 February 21)

Regiment : 48th Ohio Infantry Regiment. Co. F (1861-1865)

Service : 1861 October 15-1863 July 11

Virgil Henry Moats was born May 5, 1827, in Licking County, Ohio, the son of William Virgil (1799-1881) and Mary S. (d. 1873) Moats. The eldest of six children, Moats' siblings included a brother, Homer, who died in the Civil War, and siblings Edwin Bruce, William Wallace, Lydia S. (later Mrs. Medkirk) and Harriet.

As a young man, Moats moved to Defiance Co., Ohio, where he married Sarah McKinney of Newark. They had two children, Franklin Wallace (b. 1850) and Rowena, who died in infancy. Sarah died on May 13, 1854, and in the following June (1855), Virgil married Eliza Richardson (b. February 6, 1833). The couple had four more children: William Henry (1856), Hattie (1858-61), Douglas (1860) and Charles Virgil (1861).

A farmer, Moats established a local reputation as a solid citizen, assuming various public responsibilities as a schoolteacher, Justice of the Peace, and county Sheriff. During the Mexican War, he enlisted in a cavalry company raised at Newark, Ohio, and whatever else this experience may have done, it provided him with a degree of authority when it came to military matters.

During the fall of 1861, Moats assisted in organizing a company of infantry at Camp Dennison, Ohio, accepting a commission as Captain of Company F, 48th Ohio Infantry, when the regiment was formally admitted into the service in December. The 48th Ohio were ordered into the field during the winter, and saw their first significant action at the Battle of Shiloh, where they formed part of the fourth brigade of the Fifth Division commanded by William T. Sherman. Moats led his company through two days of intense fire at Shiloh, his regiment sustaining over 100 casualties. Still under Sherman's command, the regiment took part in the pursuit of Confederate forces to Corinth, Miss., and thereafter took part in the Vicksburg Campaign, including the Battles at Chickasaw Bluffs and Port Gibson, and the independent expedition to Arkansas Post. In recognition of his service, Moats was promoted to Major of the regiment in April, 1863. In the following month, Moats was wounded during the second assault on the Confederate lines at Vicksburg, and died of his wounds on July 11 after being sent to hospital in Cincinatti.