Depicting the night-liner, Daniel S. Miller along New York's Hudson River, Bard displays a strong patriotic exuberance so characteristic of his work. The over-sized scale of the boat in relation to the river, the meticulously drafted profile of the ship against a flat landscape, and Daniel S. Miller's whimsically caricatured crew are some of the details for which Bard is regarded as the premier 19th-Century American ship painter. Born in 1815, just eight years after Robert Fulton sent the Clermont up the Hudson River for its maiden voyage, Bard witnessed the birth and growth of America's industrialization which the steamboat came to embody. Bard shared in the imaginative capabilities of the steamboat to represent important American themes such as freedom, progress, and prosperity.
The Daniel S. Miller was built by Lawrence & Foulks and fitted with a beam-propeller engine by Fletcher, Harrison and Company in 1862 for Hamilton & Smith (John Harrison Morrison, History of American Steam Navigation (New York, 1903),pp. 156-157). Although a passenger vessel, the Daniel S. Miller helped rescue the passengers of the Isaac Newton after her boiler exploded and a fire ensued on December 5, 1863 (Morrison, p. 124). Shortly after the ship was renamed 1~Poughkeepsie, the steamboat sunk in a fog while on a trip to New York in 1901, but was immediately raised and refitted (Morrison, p. 157).