I was at a civil war event this past weekend. Elaine and I were contracted to do some performances and to do a school day presentation for 600 students. There was another musician there who was very talented, and could play a number of instruments. However...
He pulls out an 1890s banjo, and says that it is one. However he then says that this is the same as the banjos of the civil war era. He then told the kids he would play in a civil war era style, and proceeded to play in a style that was part guitar style, part Scruggs.
I talked to him afterwards saying that his 1890s banjo was nothing like a civil war era banjo. He asked me what was different. I started ticking off the differences and he was starting to get defensive. I then told him that there might have been fretted banjos, but if there were they were the exception, not the rule. He refused to believe me. He said that fretted banjos were around from the 1840 and insisted that Sweeney played a fretted banjo. I just walked away. There was no sense in going any farther.