When Major Hamer wrote, three days before his death, no one expected a fatal ending. But neither the skill of our surgeons, nor the loving attention of friends, availed to save him. He died as a soldier dies, without fear and without a murmur. His regret was that, if death must come, it should not come to him on the field of battle.
He was mindful the last of all of those at home who would most suffer.
He died within the sound of battle, and that was a pleasure to him as a brave soldier. He was buried with the "honors of war," and with the flag of his beloved country around him.
All things will be forwarded in due course of regulations.
Personally, his death is a loss to me which no words can express.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
Second Lieutenant and Quartermaster.
John W. Emerson, "Grant's Life in the West," The Midland Monthly, VII, 1 (Jan., 1897), 35. Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Hamer died Dec. 2, 1846. Hamer as Congressman had appointed USG to USMA. Emerson also prints (34) a letter from Hamer to a friend written shortly before his death. "I have found in Lieutenant Grant a most remarkable and valuable young soldier. I anticipate for him a brilliant future, if he should have an opportunity to display his powers when they mature. Young as he is, he has been of great value and service to me. To-day, after being freed from the duty of wrestling with the problem of reducing a train of refractory mules and their drivers to submissive order, we rode into the country several miles, and taking our position upon an elevated mound, he explained to me many army evolutions; and, supposing ourselves to be generals commanding opposing armies, and a battle to be in progress, he explained suppositious maneuvers of the opposing forces in a most instructive way; and when I thought his imaginary force had my army routed, he suddenly suggested a stragetic move for my forces which crowned them with triumphant victory, and himself with defeat, and he ended by gracefully offering to surrender his sword! Of course, Lieutenant Grant is too young for command, but his capacity for future military usefulness is undoubted."