The Nabraska (sic) Nebraska was one of hundreds of packets (ships operating on schedule) sailing the Atlantic before the Civil War. She was built in Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1845, for New York owners, and sailed to Liverpool that year and to Marseilles in 1847. She made at least one trip to China (1850), and like many packets, she switched to the southern cotton trade and was lost off Texas in 1857.
Senator Weber was built in Boston in 1853 as the ship Wellfleet. She sailed for Enoch Train’s Boston Liverpool Line of packets in 1854, then transferred to the Regular Line, sailing in the Boston-New Orleans cotton packet trade. The Civil War idled ships like the Wellfleet, and she was sold to Hamburg, Germany in 1863. There she was renamed Senator Weber and flew the flag of Hamburg. This painting was done when she was still the Wellfleet. It descended in the family of the American captain, Henry S.
Built in 1854 for C.H. Marshall and Company, by then the owners and operators of New York's famous Black Ball packet line, by William H. Webb, New York's premier ship builder. It is possible that Antonio Jacobsen saw her for she ran for C.H. Marshall until 1881, surviving on what the steamships which had largely taken over the passenger trade could not carry. She was sold to Bremen in 1881 and continued until about 1890. If Jacobsen did not see her and sketch her himself, he may have had access to photographs of the ship, or other data.
Packet ships were vessels that sailed on a schedule. The service begain in 1817 with three ships sailing from New York to Liverpool. Liverpool and New York were the principal ports but Boston and Philadelphia were other major ports, and packet lines were established to most of the major European ports.