Doc. 85.-Jeff. Thompson's address. To the planters in Mississippi.
Gentlemen: You are called upon to sustain your reputation as brave Mississippians, and show the world that the forty thousand gallant sons of your noble State, who are now in the field, are fighting for principles which you indorse, and for which you are willing to suffer some little personal inconvenience. You are needed, old and young, not to fight, but to perform the watching and picketing duty, which your knowledge of the country peculiarly fits you for, and which will relieve and rest the soldiers who have this duty to perform, and thus give us great advantage over any equal number of the enemy. The recent raid through De Soto County should prove the necessity of this vigilance, and show how easily one man, riding as express five miles in advance of the enemy, could have defeated their purposes, and any reliable man, with a probable report of their numbers, could have had them all cut off. You who belong to the regular minute-men and militia, turn out at once, so that the forces here can have the advantage of your numbers and local knowledge; and you who do not belong, form yourselves into squads around the different cross-roads, so that two of you can be on the watch all the time, day and night, one of whom should come with information of the approach of the enemy, and the other should secrete himself until they pass, and then come round and tell their numbers. By this means raids and forays can either be prevented or defeated, and the parties returned. Only a little mother wit is necessary to teach every body how to perform this duty; but it will be necessary to notify the military commander of the point watched, and the persons agreeing to watch it, so he may know when a proper person brings information. You need not fear making yourself any more liable to depredations by thus acting, for your all is gone if your soldiers are conquered. Every foot of ground in Mississippi should be disputed; every stump should form a rifle-rest, and canebrake a camp. You are not like Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland. No craven cowards have invited the vandals on to your soil; no regiments calling themselves Mississippians are marching with the Northmen-your brothers are not in their ranks. They are really and truly invaders, and should be met with resistance in every shape and manner, and death should meet them at every step. Let them see that this is your determination. Let them feel that their advance will be bloody, and their retreat bootless, and you will then be safe. Remove your cotton from the pens and ginhouses, that it can be speedily burned, (it need not be unbaled,) and then if we can fight and save it we will, and if we cannot save it, then we can destroy it without burning up your gins, which we will be compelled to do if we spare it long enough to try to save it. If this request is not complied with, and not only the people turn out to assist us, but the cotton prepared to be burned, we will have to burn it in our rear, for fear of having to fall back too speedily to attend to it. Yours respectfully,