In 1838, the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad bought 462 acres bordering its tracks twelve miles north of Richmond in Hanover County. The company created a small summer retreat and passenger rest stop there. In 1858, the area was incorporated as the town of Ashland, the name of the Kentucky home of Hanover native son Henry Clay. During the Civil War, Union cavalry attacked the railroad here three times: on 3 May 1863 under Maj. Gen. George Stoneman, on 1 March 1864 under Brig. Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick, and on 11 May 1864 under Brig. Gen. Henry E. Davies, Jr.