Antebellum and post-bellum Vermilion
Before the Civil War, the Pinhook corridor along the Vermilion was growing to be a thriving community even though steamboat traffic was somewhat sporadic, due to accumulations of driftwood and on the river’s water level. In 1852, the Louisiana State Legislature directed the state engineer to examine the feasibility of establishing locks on the lower Vermilion River. However, little was done and by 1859, the Vermilion was virtually inaccessible.
In 1865, after the war ended, the region struggled economically. Because of extensive wartime damage along the upper Vermilion — crops were burned, livestock was killed, homes were destroyed — the region’s farmers had little to nothing to send to market. During that time and considering the problems associated with navigating the Vermilion, what cargo was ready to be sent to New Orleans likely went along the Teche. Even so, the ten vessels that called on Bayou Teche ports between October and December 1865, carried relatively small cargos of cotton, sugar, molasses, hides and rolls of leather.