Attempted Sale of the Federal fleet. [from the New Orleans, la , Picayune, Sunday, December 11, 1904.Remarkable episode in the operations on the Mississippi.
Desertion of Lieutenant D. W. Glenney, U. S. N., in 1863.Planned to deliver part of the gunboat fleet to the Confederate Officials—Scheme came to Naught—Glenney's escape to Mexico.
The attempted sale by Lieutenant Daniel W. Glenney, of the United States Navy, of a portion of the gunboat fleet in the Missippi river to the Confederate authorities, in May, 1863, has not been heretofore fully given to the public. The correspondence which follows gives all details which are attainable. On the 7th of May, 1863, John J. Pettus, Governor of Mississippi, addressed a letter from Jackson to Hon. Jefferson Davis, as follows: Mr. President,—Allow me to consult you on a matter we deem of great interest. A private citizen, unconnected with the army, some four weeks ago conceived the plan of buying out a considerable portion of the enemy's gunboat fleet. He consulted the Hon. Jacob Thompson in the premises, by whom he was urged to open the negotiations through a suitable agent, with an assurance that the government would approve and indorse the project. The gentleman then procured a shrewd political man, of character and property, whose proximity to the fleet gave him unusual facilities for success. The negotiations have now become so far perfected that we are informed six boats, all north of Vicksburg and south of Memphis, can be had for a consideration not exceeding one-half or two-thirds original cost. The boats will be delivered at the mouth of White river, with all their equipments and armaments. The condition of success now is the government's indorsement and the money with which to pay. Confederate money will not answer the purpose; it must be either specie or sterling exchange. It will require about $1,000,000 to complete the purchase. It must be done at the  earliest practicable moment. I need not advert to the advantages to our cause of such an arrangement. We could capture north of Vicksburg ten times the value of the boats. In connection with the scheme is another of scarcely less importance, brought to my notice by the same gentleman, and intrusted to the same agent. The post of Helena, the richest in stores of any on this continent, perhaps, ordnance, etc., can be bought out at one-tenth its value, with which the Department of General E. K. Smith could be furnished with arms, etc. If you approve the plan please include Helena with the boats, and give us, by telegraph, a knowledge of your indorsement in words, say, plan approved. General Pemberton, the Confederate Treasurer, Mr. Dellow and others might be ordered in general terms to confer with me and furnish all facilities to accomplish an understood purpose. There must not be delay or all may be frustrated. We ought not, of course, be restricted much as to reasonable sums of money. General Parsons, of Missouri, with a good command, is now encamped a few miles west of Helena, and could co-operate with the boats on the river in the bloodless capture of Helena. Awaiting your earliest advices, and begging to urge your prompt action, I beg to subscribe. President Davis on the back of this letter wrote: ‘Confidential letter of Governor Pettus.’ The record shows nothing farther of the proposed transaction until June 24, when a dispatch from Governor Pettus was sent to Mr. Davis. This dispatch shows that Mr. Mallory, the Secretary of the Navy, had not approved of the plan, and that Mr. Davis had forwarded a copy of it to Governor Pettus. To this letter Governor Pettus replied:
The proposed purchase of the stores, etc., at Helena thus failed, but as to the negotiations for the purchase of the United States gunboat Rattler and the results, the following correspondence will explain:
The letter alluded to by Mr. Hoel reads as follows: