For more information about banjos and music of your time period, look for the books.......
"The Birth of the Banjo: Joel Walker Sweeney and Early Minstrelsy" by Bob Carlin
"Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy" by Hans Nathan
"High-Minded and Low-Down: Music in the Lives of Americans, 1800-1861" by Nicholas E. Tawa
There is another book that you might like. It is "Slave Songs of the United States" Edited by William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware and Lucy McKim Garrison It was written in 1867 but, deals with a subject that you would have known about.
A gourd banjo would be best for your time period. I have two of them and like them very much. I have one that was made by a man in Tennessee that would correct for your period. I think that he is still making them (?) and could send you his name and contact information if you would like it. Or, you might want to start a discussion on the subject of gourd banjos, I believe that several members on this site play gourd banjos made by other makers that might be even better for your interpretation.
If you need any help finding makers of clothing for your period, I could help you with that also.
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