MS-DOS 6.22 should work under just about any VM software I know about. Is there something else special about this system necessitating it to be running besides MS-DOS? Have you tried imaging the drive and then creating a VM?
Is the problem that your hard drive is not recognized by the BIOS? You may need to set the hard drive to "TYPE AUTO" somewhere in the BIOS. It's possible that your hard drive is more or less "too new" for the system. There are also BIOS addressing limitations you may be running into, such as the 504(?)MB barrier or the 8GByte barrier. If the tools you are using the image are recreating the partition table, it may be doing something the old BIOS doesn't like.
MS-DOS fits easily on a standard 3.5" floopy. Back in the day, anyone who had to work with MS-DOS in such a capacity had a boot disk that would boot into MS-DOS and have a few very necessary recovery and install utilities, namely
SYS (puts MS-DOS on a disk),
FDISK (partitioner), and
FORMAT, and then
It's not overly difficult to covert a system that is booting off of C: to boot off of A: in MS-DOS, without modifying C: at all. The C: drive will be visible and accessible like normal. Basically you would make the boot disk with a
SYS A: from a running MS-DOS system, copy over
COMMAND.COM to the root of the floppy, and then copy and change
AUTOEXEC.BAT as needed. As long as your
COMPSEC line in
CONFIG.SYS doesn't point to A:, and your final line in
C: (to change current drive to C:), the floppy isn't needed or used after boot. This may be an option for you.