Virgil Earp
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1843
Date of Death: 1905
Cause of Death: Pneumonia
Occupation: Soldier, law enforcement officer, gambler, miner, saloon-keeper
Parents: Nicholas Earp,
Virginia Cooksey
Spouse: Nellie Jane Earp;
Rossella Dragoo;
Allie Sullivan
Children: Nellie
Relatives: Wyatt, Morgan, James, Warren (brothers)
Professional Affiliations: US Marshals
Military Branch: Union Army (American Civil War)
Turtledove Appearances:
Southern Victory
POD: September 10, 1862
Appearance(s): How Few Remain
Type of Appearance: Direct
Military Branch: Union Army (War of Secession)
Tombstone Rangers (Second Mexican War)
Virgil Walter Earp (July 18, 1843 – October 19, 1905) was the older brother of Wyatt Earp, and participated in the storied October 26, 1881 "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" in the town of Tombstone, Arizona Territory. In December 1881, a gunshot wound from an unknown assailant cost him the use of his left arm.

He spent most his life in law enforcement, but he did try his hand at a variety of careers. He served with the United States Army during the American Civil War.

Virgil Earp in Southern VictoryEdit

Virgil Earp had been just 18 years old when he enlisted in the Union Army when the War of Secession began in 1861. After the war ended, Virgil left the army and tried his hand at civilian life. In the late 1870s, he headed west to the New Mexico Territory. Although Virgil tried to convince his brother Wyatt to come with him, he ultimately failed.

When the Second Mexican War began in 1881, Virgil Earp rejoined the army, receiving the rank of brevet Colonel and was placed in command of a volunteer cavalry regiment, in the New Mexico Territory. His military career in the war was short lived as he convinced his commanding officer to follow him and his regiment into a trap set jointly by the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department under Jeb Stuart and an Apache band led by Geronimo. In the ensuing battle, the combined militia and cavalry force was decimated and Earp himself had his horse shot out from under him, pinning his leg and possibly crippling him for life, allowing him to be captured. After the battle was over, he was personally interrogated by Stuart.

Earp shared with Stuart his wish that his brother had come out west. His brother was the best poker player Earp had ever seen, and probably would not have fallen into the trap. Although beaten and humiliated, Virgil got the last laugh as he vexed Stuart by pointing out that the Apaches were the CSA's problem now.[1]


  1. How Few Remain, pg. 284-285.