I was told by a Sonnier cousin that many Sonnier's lost their lives in the Bois Mallet massacre. The article below does not speak specifically of this incident but gives us some idea of the political conflicts caused by the Civil War and how it affected Southwest Louisiana families. Some families were loyal to the Confederacy and others within these same families were loyal to the Union. It was literally a war where brother fought brother, father fought son, etc. This only compounded the tragedy of the Civil War.
Hilaire Carriere, husband of Josephine Sonnier (Silvain Sonnier, III and Josephine Bello) was killed by vigilantes as was his brother Ursin Carriere, Jr. Their successions are both dated October 1865. Carmelite Carriere daughter of Ursin Carriere, Sr. and Carmelite Lacase md. Don Louis Sonnier (son of Silvain Sonnier, Jr. and Judith Bello). Another son, Florian Sonnier, md. Syphalide Carriere, daughter of Ursin Carriere, Sr. and Carmelite Lacase.
So it was this particular Sonnier and Carriere family that appears to me to have been the ones massacred at Bois Mallet. These Sonnier's were from Judith Bello, the second wife of Silvain Sonnier, Jr. My Sonnier line is from the first wife, Humilde Comeaux.
I do not think the article is corrrect about Celestine Carriere Saunier, daughter of Ursin Carriere, Sr. being killed in 1865. Ursin Carriere, Sr. did not have a daughter Celestine....The succession of Carmelite Lacase only mentions seven children not eight...so I do not know where the reporter got his data on Celestine. Carmelite Carriere, wife of Don Louis Sonnier, died in 1862 not 1865 so it was not she that was killed.
Aurelien Sonnier son of Louis dit Valiere Sonnier (Silvain Sonnier, Jr. md. Humilde Comeaux) md. Denise Carriere (same Carriere line as above) also had a succession dated Oct. 1865. He may also have been a victim of vigilantes. He md. Emeline Darbonne, daughter of Michel Darbonne and Melite Sonnier. Melite Sonnier was the daughter of Silvain Sonnier, III and Josephine Bello.
Steven Cormier's Acadians in Gray site had a picture of Ozeme Carriere....
Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser, August 26, 1997
Some thought Jayhawker Carriere was really a hero - His outlaw band reigned in area around Bois Mallet in 1860s
By Jim Bradshaw
Ozeme Carriere, who lived in Bois Mallet, was born May 6, 1831, four months after his father's death. His parents, Ursin Carriere and Emilite LaCasse, had seven other children.
As a teenager, Ozeme became involved with a group of local toughs who made their living by helping themselves to their neighbors' livestock, gold, and whatever else they could lay hands upon. They ranged across Acadiana in pursuit of booty, but they were most often found on the prairies of Acadia and western St. Landry parishes. Carriere learned his trade well, and was firmly established as the leader of this outlaw band by the late 1850s.
With his leadership came reports of crimes more vicious than simple robbery. Some people were killed when they resisted the outlaws. That was something that could not be overlooked, and lawmen across the area began tracking the Carriere gang. When the lawmen didn't get there fast enough, local vigilante groups did. The bandit leader's older brother, Hilaire, and several other members of the gang were strung up by vigilantes. But Ozeme Carriere remained untouched, and his gang kept acquiring new members -- including some women.
When the Civil War reached Acadiana, Ozeme added another dimension to his reputation. He became a "Jayhawker," a term coined during the Civil War for guerrilla fighters in the South who fought against the Confederacy. The war was not popular in every camp in Acadiana, and a number of men decided that they would rather join Carriere's gang than be conscripted into the Confederate army.
In 1864, the Confederate government attempted to conscript Creoles of color from the Opelousas area for duty as forced laborers in north Louisiana. The Creoles did not like the idea, and were welcomed alongside white draft dodgers in Carriere's Bois Mallet band.
Before the Civil War, Carriere had entered into an extra-marital liaison with a sister of Martin Guillory, a prominent free man of color, who in 1864 became Carriere's chief lieutenant. Carriere also accepted Union deserters as quickly as men skipping Confederate duty.
As his gang grew in size, he had to raid more regularly to keep everyone fed and happy. Luckily for him, the war also brought new opportunities for his raiders -- the Confederate encampments where he could find food, tents, horses, and weapons.
The Confederates put out orders to shoot him on sight. But Carrier became a hard man to see, because he was also a hero to the families of those he was hiding from the Confederate draft. At one point, Union General Nathaniel Banks, who commanded the Federal troops that marched through southern Louisiana, sent his Chief of Staff to offer Carriere a commission in the Union army. Carriere would have none of it. He didn't want any Generals looking over his operations, no matter which side they were on.
As historian Carl Brasseaux and his fellow writers point out in "Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country," "Under the leadership of Carriere and Guillory, the southwest Louisiana Jayhawkers were a formidable fighting force capable of resisting repeated Confederate efforts to annihilate them. Operating out of camps in the Bois Mallet area ... the Jayhawkers controlled most of the southwestern Louisiana prairie country for much of 1863, 1864, and 1865.
"While publicly espousing the Confederate cause, St. Landry's wealthiest Creoles of Color appear to have privately supported the insurgents. It is hardly coincidental that such leading free men of color as Auguste Donato, fils, capitalized on the Jayhawker presence to move as many of their increasingly valuable cotton bales as possible to relatives' farms in the Bois Mallet area, where they would be safe from Confederate and Union foragers. Indeed, contemporary civil suits indicate the free men of color were even transporting to Jayhawker territory fencing materials that they acquired from Union forces....
"It is equally significant that," Brasseaux et al continue, "though the Jayhawkers lived off the land by pillaging local farms, particularly those between Opelousas and Church Point, they appear to have scrupulously avoided the caches of agricultural stores hidden by free persons of color at Bois Mallet. Indeed, at a time when Jayhawkers were conducting daring daylight raids against Cajun yeomen, Auguste Donato's cotton bales sat abandoned but untouched on Evariste Guillory's Bois Mallet farm " But Confederate soldiers who had gone to fight were angry now over how Carriere was hiding those who would not go. The military joined with the law in hunting him down. The vigilantes found Ozeme's brother, Ursin, and his sister, Celestine Carriere Saunier, early in 1865. They had each been part of the gang, and were given vigilante justice.
In May 1865, Confederate Lt. Louis Amede Bringier met Carriere and one of his men, Martin Guillory, in the woods near present-day Mallet. When the confrontation was over, Carriere was dead and Guillory was badly wounded. Carriere was 34 years old.
Guillory would recover from his wounds and accept a Union commission as a captain, organizing his Jayhawkers into a unit called the Mallet Free Scouts. But he too would soon be shot down by vigilantes. He was 25 years old when he died.