Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories: Easier to Empty the Potomac

An officer of low volunteer rank persisted in telling and re-telling his troubles to the President on a summer afternoon when Lincoln was tired and careworn.

After listening patiently, he finally turned upon the man, and, looking wearily out upon the broad Potomac in the distance, said in a peremptory tone that ended the interview:

“Now, my man, go away, go away. I cannot meddle in your case. I could as easily bail out the Potomac River with a teaspoon as attend to all the details of the army.”