Abraham Lincoln: What're you rushing off for?
Ellmer Ellsworth: Well, if I don't hurry, sir, the war will be over before I have a chance to get into it.
General Scott: The optimism of youth.
Ellmer Ellsworth: They can't last more than a few weeks, General. We outnumber them four to one. There's not a cannon factory in the whole South. And look what they're doing: Moving their capital from Alabama to Richmond! Now that's like a chess player sticking his king right in the center of the board. Why, we'll be matching through the streets of Richmond by the Fourth of July!
Ellmer Ellsworth: [Explaining war strategy to Lincoln, Ellsworth lays pencils on a map] These are the tools a commander in chief is able to use in a modern war. Napoleon would have given his hand right out of his coat for one of these.
Tad Lincoln: For a pencil?
Ellmer Ellsworth: No, sir.
[taps pencil on a spitoon]
Ellmer Ellsworth: Telegraph. With telegraph instruments you can really command. You can know what's going on everywhere. Every move. Every skirmish. Every shifting of the enemy. And you can make your decisions with the speed of lightning bolts.
Abraham Lincoln: You only left one thing out, Elmer. I can make mistakes as fast as lightning bolts, too.
John Nicolay: [Showing the president a book] Here's a Napoleon. You still need it?
Abraham Lincoln: [Closing the book he was reading] No. I've been through the Seven Year War, the Thirty Year War, and the Hundred Year War. I need a furlough. You know what I've learned from all these, John, is how easy it is to be an expert after the shootin's over.