William C. Fraser kept this 60-page diary while serving with the Pioneer Corps, 3rd Division, 17th Army Corps, from May 6, 1864-June 18, 1865. Most of his daily entries pertain to his movements in Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia; he often noted the names of towns and rivers he passed during his travels, as well as the time of Reveille. Fraser wrote about his work with the Pioneer Corps, which involved building earthworks and fortifications, setting up pontoon bridges, and working at a hospital; on one occasion, he tore down slaves' huts to collect wood for army use (January 25, 1865). Though he primarily worked in a support position, he occasionally participated in skirmishes with Confederate troops. Fraser's later entries relay news of the war, including the surrenders of prominent Confederate armies and the death of Abraham Lincoln. Two entries concern dental work (August 27, 1864, and April 19, 1865).
The diary arrived at the Clements Library with a copy of A Manual of Military Surgery. Prepared for the Use of the Confederate States Army (housed in the Book Division). William C. Fraser reportedly picked up the volume while in Georgia and sent it home to his family in Wellsville, Ohio. A newspaper clipping laid into the volume concerns the Battle of Atlanta, including a casualty list for the 78th Ohio Infantry Regiment (July 24, 1864).