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Westport Camp # 64

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Brian V. Smarker of Excelsior Springs, Missouri. Brian's ancestry consists of the following Union soldiers:
2nd great grandfather, Pvt. James I. Moss of Company D, 15th Regiment, Iowa Infantry from 13 April 1864 to 24 July 1865.

3rd great uncle, Pvt. George W. Moss of Company D, 15th Regiment, Iowa Infantry from 10 November 1861 to 16 January 1862; Company K, 119th Regiment, Illinois Infantry from 14 August 1862 to 31 January 1864; Company D, 15th Regiment, Iowa Infantry from 31 January 1864 to 2 June 1865.

About the Moss brothers:
George and James were born to John and Elizabeth Moss at or near Bowling Green, Indiana. George was born 23 April 1842 and James was born 8 June 1848. They also had two sisters, Lucretia and Polly. The parents died when their children were young some time after moving to Adams County, Illinois. Because of their untimely deaths, the Moss children were placed into separate homes of relatives and friends.

It is not known why George enlisted in Iowa, but he did so on 10 November 1861. He became a Private in Company D, 15th Regiment, Iowa Infantry. Apparently, he deserted, and returned to his Illinois home on 16 January 1862. Seven months following his departure from Iowa, George enlisted into Company K, 119th Regiment, Illinois Infantry on 14 August 1862; however, on 31 January 1864 he was arrested and escorted with armed guard back to Iowa to be rejoined with his original outfit where he was "subsequently restored to duty without trial by special order." The desertion charge was removed by an Act of Congress at a later date.
George's little brother must have looked up to him as a role model. James ran away from his Illinois home and enlisted into the same Iowa Company that George was in. According to his pension file, he claimed to be 19 years old when he enlisted on 13 April 1864, when in fact it was two months before his 16th birthday. George claimed, "We came home on furlough from Vicksburg and he enlisted and went back with the old soldiers. I think that was in 1863 but am not sure."

Later, James came down with a fever and nearly died in a hospital near Rome, Georgia. They had even called for George to be by his side in the event of his death. He soon recovered however, and was sent into action. In a deposition given by George on behalf of James, he remarked, "Later he came to the company and the first action we were in was at Big Shanty, Ga. He was given his soldier's equipment there and he got out on top of the rifle pits and a sharp shooter put some holes through his pants leg near the ankle and burned his leg good and he rolled back and said: `I'm shot. I'm killed.'"

Of course, he survived that injury, but days later, during the Battle of Atlanta, James was shot again. In his own words, his wound "incurred in service was gun shot wound in the spine of my back at Atlanta, Ga. 22 July 1864, the day General McPherson fell. I was in the battle and Hood had us surrounded. The wound is in the lower part of my spine. The ball mashed clear in against my back and the scar is there now."

George was discharged on 2 June 1865, and James on 24 July 1865. Both returned to Iowa, where they returned to their lives as civilians. George Moss died in Ormanville, Iowa on 4 January 1918 and was interred in the Ormanville Cemetery with his wife Martha. James was a resident of the Iowa Soldiers Home in Marshalltown, Iowa when he died on 21 February 1920. The national cemetery on the home's grounds, known as the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery, is where he was buried.

 

Pictures of George and James Moss and pictures of their headstones

Pvt. George W. Moss of Company D, 15th Regiment, Iowa Infantry from 10 November 1861 to 16 January 1862; Company K, 119th Regiment, Illinois Infantry from 14 August 1862 to 31 January 1864; Company D, 15th Regiment, Iowa Infantry from 31 January 1864 to 2 June 1865
Gravestone marker of Pvt. George W. Moss.
Pvt. James I. Moss of Company D, 15th Regiment, Iowa Infantry from 13 April 1864 to 24 July 1865.
Gravestone marker of Pvt. James I. Moss.

Descendants of James I. Moss

1 James I. Moss 1848-1920
.. + Mary Naomi Henson 1850-1880
........ 2. Lillie Alma Moss 1872-1950
............ + Edward Earley Fisher 1868-1934
................... 3. Ival Burton Fisher 1915-1993
....................... + Alice Virginia Gordon 1919-1994
............................. 4. Suzanne Gay Fisher 1940-2005
................................. + Donald Jean Smarker 1939-
........................................ 5. Brian Vincent Smarker 1961-
............................................ + Scarlet Ann Stoll 1962-
.................................................. 6a. Caitlyn Adairra Smarker
.................................................. 6b. Jourdyn Alainna Smarker

Other Ancestors Who Fought for the Union Army:

George G. Earley:   My 4th great uncle (a collateral ancestor).

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