Inscription reads: "Monterey was headquarters for Confederates during much of the 1861 Mountain Campaign and headquarters for Federals prior to the fighting at McDowell. In the winter of 1861-1862, skirmishing occurred across the county as the frontier between the armies shifted from Allegheny Mountain, on the modern state line, to West View in Augusta County."
Union forces occupied Monterey on April 6, 1862. The town remained in Federal hands until after the Battle of McDowell, May 8, 1862. The Osborne Wilson-Fenn House, on Main Street, was Union Gen. Robert Milroy's headquarters.
Displaying the ambiguity with which many western Virginians approached the Civil War, Highland County's government waited until June 1862, after the Battle of McDowell, to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Confederacy.