Miller Argabright Cover Kite House, Stonewall Jacksons Headquarters, April 19 to 30, 1862

Inscription reads: "Less than a month after his defeat at Kernstown, Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson retired to the Elk Run Valley to rest his troops and plan for the spring campaign.  With his men camped all along Elk Run and into Swift Run Gap, Jackson made his headquarters here in Elkton (then Conrad's Store). Jackson used this house, then the residence of the widow of John Argabright.  According to staff member Henry Kyd Douglas, Jackson's room was empty of furniture except for a thin mattress on the floor."  

In the days that followed, the house became a beehive of activity with the arrival and departure of couriers and officers including Gens. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson and Richard S. Ewell as well as mapmaker Jedediah Hotchkiss. A major disagreement developed here between Jackson and Col. Turner Ashby over the lack of discipline in the cavalry following a botched attempt to burn bridges in neighboring Page County.

While Jackson was consumed with military affairs, he did not forget his wife, Mary Anna.  Unlike in Winchester a few months before, she was unable to join him here. "I do so much want to see my darling," wrote Jackson, "but fear such a privilege will not be enjoyed for some time to come."

Within days of leaving Conrad's Store on April 30, Jackson gave Union observers the impression he had retreated from the Valley. However, in a series of stealthy moves, he reentered the Valley, and by May 8 had attacked and defeated General Robert H. Milroy's Federal army at McDowell.

This house was built in 1827 by Henry Miller, Jr. (the grandson of Adam Miller, perhaps the first settler in this part of the Shenandoah Valley). Samuel Gibbons, a local resident, performed the joining and carpentry.  Gibbons' son, Simeon Beauford Gibbons, was later a student of Jackson at the Virginia Military Institute and, at the time of Jackson's stay here, a colonel of the 10th Virginia Infantry, which encamped nearby.  Col. Gibbons was the most senior Confederate officer killed at the Battle of McDowell.