Aroused at daybreak. Travel till near 11 o’clock and stop at a beautiful little Village on the Fredricksburg R.R. called Ashland. This seems to have been a place of pleasure and fashionable resort. Rest here in the shady grove till about 4 O’clock when we proceed onward. March very hard till after night. Nearly every one was al most exhausted with fatigue. We laid the flattering unction to our souls, that we again would get to rest till morning. But alas! We hoped in vain! We had hardly fallen to sleep when the order came round to get the men under arms immediately. I know it was an impious wish. I could not help it. For once I wished for power to control the destinies of earth—that I might reverse our cruel—cruel fate. It was distressing to a sympathizing heart, to hear the lamentations of the poor wearied soldier, recited in simple but feeling language of their hard lot. What they had a moment before so vainly hoped to enjoy. What they now more needed than all else besides. What it was almost death to be deprived of now. In short, the greatest blessing that earth has in store to give, Quiet Rest, was now torn away by a cruel (perhaps) necessity of war. I thought so then—and think so now; that nothing short of immediate danger or a surprise—overwhelming slaughter & defeat could justify that movement. We marched toward Hanover Junction—passing it and going 5 or 6 miles. It was impossible for the men to hold out. The result was, we left the Brigade broken down, scattered along the road. A few of us reached the residence of a Mr. Anderson on the Central R.R. and slept on arms until morning.
Sources: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 1. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003). Original in the A.E. Fraley Diary, Fraley Collection, Rowan County Public Library.