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Nelson House and Fortifications, Yorktown, Virginia


Pencil on paper drawing of "Nelson House and Fortifications, Yorktown, Virginia", ca. 1798, from the Latrobe Sketchbooks, by Benjamin Henry Latrobe. The rough sketch features the shell-riddled Nelson House at left, as well as surviving British fortifications overlooking sailing ships on the York River from the siege and battle of 1781, which was the decisive victory that won the Revolutionary War. The Nelson House, built around 1725, was owned by Thomas Nelson (1716-1782). Known as "Secretary Nelson" for his long service to the Colonial Council, Nelson was one of the few citizens that stayed during the battle. General Charles Cornwallis (1738-1805) of the British Army appropriated the home for his headquarters during the siege. His home was destroyed by artillery, uninhabitable, and Nelson died the following year. It was still standing at the time of Latrobe's visit, but is only identified by a marker today.


circa 1798


Pencil on paper


9.5 x 7.5 inches

Object ID


Resource ID



Sketchbook 4

Digital Publisher

Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


This digital image is made available here for private study, scholarship, and research. Commercial and other uses are prohibited without the permission of the Maryland Center for History and Culture. For more information, visit the MCHC’s Reproductions and Permissions web page.