"Daniel W. Glenney became a sailor at the age of thirteen; his first whaling voyage covered three years and seven months, Nov. 11, 1851-June 1855. There is extant a charming letter,remarkable letter, which he wrote at the age of fourteen to a young girl named Agnes. Another voyage occupied two years. He (and his brother William also) visited St. Helena and Juan Fernandez.
While Daniel appears to have been deficient in veneration and conscientiousness, he was a brilliant and daring fellow, and his career was highly adventurous, sensational and romantic. He was at the Sandwich Islands when news came that the Secession War had broken out; and he returned to join the Navy. He is said to have been the youngest Lieut.-Commander in the service. The New York Herald of Aug. 7, 1876 devoted two and a quarter columns to the story of "Two Unrecorded Traitors", D. W. Glenney and E. P. Nellis,—charging them with assisting a Confederate attempt to capture Admiral Porter's Mississippi Squadron. The Naval Register for 1865 included among acting masters, "Daniel W. Glenney, appointed from Connecticut Dec. 3, 1863;" and the Register for 1866, in its record of "Desertions", has— "Acting Master D. W. Glenney, from the Mississippi Squadron, Nov. 4, 1864."
The San Antonio (Tex.) Express of Aug. 13, 1885 published a remarkable story, as told by Col. Uriah Lott, president of the San Antonio and Arkansas-Pass railroad.
During a portion of the War-period, Col. Lott was in command of a Mississippi steamboat engaged in the cotton trade. While thus employed, he made the acquaintance of a Captain Glenney, commander of the Federal gunboat Rattler, No. 2. Sometime in 1863 (?) Captain Glenney was placed under arrest, charged with attempting to turn his vessel over to the Confederacy for the consideration of 500 bales of cotton, to be delivered on the Rio Grande, convenient for blockade-running. While held as a prisoner on board the Rattler, Glenney watched his opportunity and endeavored to escape by jumping into the river. A volley was fired at him, and as he was not seen again it was believed that he had been killed instantly and the body sunk; and report to this effect was made to Washington.
In 1866, while Colonel Lott was engaged in mercantile pursuits at Brazos, Santiago, on the southwest Texas coast, he was surprised one day to have the veritable Glenney come into his store, in the dress of a Mexican captain. He was introduced as Captain St. Clair, made his purchases, and withdrew. A few moments later, a messenger informed Lott that a man desired to see him immediately at a given place on important business. Heeding the application, he had an interview with Glenney, who gave him the particulars of his escape.
He had dived beneath the gunboat when he jumped overboard and concealed himself under the opposite side until he had a chance to swim for land. He then made his way to Mexico and offered his services to the government, where he became a captain in the regular army. He begged Col. Lott not to reveal his identity, fearing arrest and punishment. As the colonel had been repeatedly befriended by Glenney, he held his peace; and Glenney, alias St. Clair, departed. Lott met him frequently during several months afterward. He was prominent in the Mexican army, and popular with the United States officers. He took a leading part in the capture of Bagdat, and commanded that place for a time. He told the colonel that he frequently met relatives from Connecticut who were connected with the United States quartermaster's department at Ringgold and Brazos, but that they did not know him.
Then came an interval of a dozen years or so; Col. Lott had removed to Corpus Christi. One evening in 1879, a Mexican brought him a message saying that a friend in need desired to meet him on the outskirts of the city. On reaching the place designated, he was again surprised to behold once more the form and features of his almost forgotten friend, the Mexican captain. But, oh, so changed! Instead of the fine, manly form, the handsome features and expressive countenance of the once dashing officer, the colonel beheld an emaciated, dirty, ragged creature who was stretched upon the dirt-floor of the jacal, and suffering from a pistol wound in the forehead. As the wound had been neglected and hungry flies were congregated around it, the sight was sickening. Though weak in body from exposure and hunger, the miserable man was able to make known that he was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and in dire distress,— and that he had been shot by a tramp. The colonel's sympathy was excited, he relieved the sufferer's pressing wants, and gave him twenty dollars in money. The succeeding day, he called to see Glenney, but found him not. Whether the human wreck, once a proud officer, died from his wound, or whether his dramatic career was protracted, Col. Lott does not know.
Commenting upon the above, the mother of Captain Glenney stated to the author that Daniel did not jump overboard, but that his executive officer, Mr. Nellis, at the risk of his life, procured a boat in which the two floated away from the "Rattler". The wound, she alleged, was in the leg, instead of the forehead, and caused by a shot from an Indian during a fight with the Indians, about 1875. He soon found his way home, and spent a considerable part of the winter in the State Hospital for the treatment of his wound. "How well I remember Col. Lott's interest in him at one time,—taking him to a hotel, and relieving his wants by giving him twenty-five dollars."
While at home the last time, Daniel's doings evoked some reproach from his grandmother, whereat he was offended, and never again communicated with the family; indeed nothing has since been known of him. There was a rumor of his being seen in New Haven, say, about 1885 or 6; but it was probably untrue. In those days, I think, a man called on Daniel's mother and grandmother one evening. He professed to be deaf and dumb, and wrote a request for aid. Refreshment was tendered him, and a bit of money, for which he expressed profuse thanks. A suspicion grew very strong within the aged women that their visitor was the curious, startling, erratic Daniel. In their home I have seen a volume of Mexican history, written in French; it made mention of "the celebrated St. Clair."
1637-1887. The Munson record: A genealogical and biographical ..., Volume 2 By Myron Andrews Munson