Thomas Nelson, Jr., was a soldier, statesman, colonial-era governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was commander of the Virginia Militia during the siege of Yorktown and legend has it that when he learned that British General Cornwallis was using his own home, Nelson House, as his headquarters, he urged General Washington to shell it. He even offered five guineas to the first man to hit his house.
The surrender at Yorktown, Virginia brought an end to the American Revolutionary War. Less than 100 years later, however, the village of Yorktown was nearly destroyed during the War Between the States.
Thomas, a son of ‘Scotch Tom’, who established the Nelson family in Yorktown, was for many years Secretary for the Colony of Virginia. This comfortable and spacious home attracted Lord Cornwallis who needed a headquarters near his main defense on the east side of town. The British commander remained here through much of the siege until Allied gunners made the house untenable. Its foundations are to your left. (“Secretary Nelson House” marker at Yorktown)