Patriotic sent from overseas are very scarce. This cover was sent from Hong Kong on September 11, 1861 via various P&O steamers to Marseilles, and from there to Liverpool where it took the Cunard steamer Niagara to Boston. It arrived on November 16, 1861 and was rated 45c as a 0-1/2 oz. letter sent by British Mail via Marseilles.
This letter was sent from Marcus L. Woodard to his wife Maria in Stoneham, Mass. Woodard had traveled as both mate and master of several ships in the China trade. He had reached China on the ship Surprise after stopping at Batavia with a cargo of ice. The crew mutinied at that post. Woodard made it to China where he described trade on the Yangtze, including problems with coastal pirates and the great profit to be made in smuggling up and down the river.