This article examines the diary of Peter W. Hairston, a wealthy planter in North Carolina before the Civil War and Volunteer Aide to Confederate general Jubal A. Early. During the period of the diary, 7 November to 4 December 1863, Early and Hairston were a part of two major operations in Virginia. These operations were the Rappahannock Bridge and Mine Run campaigns. The diary illuminates the fading Confederate cause in 1863 and challenges to state and national authority in North Carolina.