In the critical civil war years, Banquete meant water, supplies, repairs and defenses to thousands on arid trips along the Cotton Road to Mexico. The Cotton Road was well known, for it followed a segment of the historic "King's Highway" of early explorers. Yet its vital role for 4 years in supplying the confederacy earned it undying fame. It was the way to Mexico's border towns of Bagdad and Matamoros, where 20,000 speculators clamored for cotton, using valuable European goods to make attractive bargains.
To get guns, ammunition, shoes, clothing, medicines--necessities scarce at home--the confederacy sent to neutral Mexico long trains of 5 to 15 wagons or ox carts that lumbered for many weeks over the desert. Sometimes to lighten a load for an exhausted team, cotton bales might be hidden in roadside brush. The traffic left signs in the wilds. Often the landscape would whiten with the lint thorned off passing loads. Banquete's water made possible the long hauls to Mexico and back to the goods-hungry confederate population. Thus the town named for an 1832 fiesta honoring Texas colonists served a strategic role in the history of the civil war, 1861-65.