Abiel Abbow Low and Brothers, Jacob Bell was one of four well-designed clipper ships that Low used to import black tea (and occasionally opium) directly from the Chinese port of Foochoo.
Florida's commanding officer, John Maffitt, reported that Jacob Bell had over 17,000 cases of tea in her hold, valued at over $1.5 million (in 1863 dollars). Along with six boxes of coffee, Maffitt kept fifteen cases and had the rest burned. Via the blockade runner Robert E. Lee, he forwarded the captured tea and coffee to Richmond. He expressly requested that the tea and coffee be distributed to soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia. There are two excellent account of the captures, one from Maffitt's official report and another from Jacob Bell's vantage point in the book A Year in China, by Mrs. H. Dwight Williams.