Casto has been helping to put Civil War Weekend together for most of the event's 14-year existence, and said the county is "plum full of Civil War history."
He has heard tales of two Rock Branch brothers who joined opposing sides when the war broke out and ended up meeting each other at the Battle of Scary Creek.
"If you sit down and talk to people, you'll hear stories like that," Casto said. "Our county is still a little rural, and neighbors still talk to neighbors."
The Craik-Patton Hhouse is named, in part, after the same Col. Patton who beat back Union advances at Scary Creek. He lived in the house before the war broke out.
Meadows, Browning and Cassel have been re-enacting for years. When dressed in their authentic-looking Civil War garb, the three stay true to their characters, and are forced to improvise when faced with a blatantly modern concept.
They refer to cars roaring down nearby Interstate 77/64 as fast-moving horseless carriages. Walmart is usually some variation of "Wally's Mercantile."
The presentation is noticeably nontheatrical, though. The re-enactors do not inflect their voices or make overdramatic gestures. They see themselves as defenders of history, not actors in a movie.
Gen. Jackson, for instance, was known as calm, reserved, modest and soft-spoken. Cassel takes care to portray a precise emulation of the legendary general. On some days, "Stonewall" walks with Cassel, who in those moments transforms into a vessel of the general's identity.
"You actually have to become that person," Cassel said. "You start to believe that that person starts to speak to you."
Meadows said that, sometimes, it's the spectators who take the parts too far. A few years ago, after Meadows gave a presentation as Grant, genuine Confederate sympathizers confronted him and accused Grant of being a hypocrite for owning slaves before the war.
Meadows began defending Grant as if the sympathizers were attacking his own character. According to some historians, Grant owned slaves before the war, but later denounced the practice.
"I have found that I am becoming Grant at times," Meadows said. "On weekends, I become someone else."
All three said they recognize the Civil War as the "crossroads of the nation" and see re-enactment as a teaching tool for one of the most important events in American history.
"Our very being is rooted in the Civil War," Browning said.The Putnam County Civil War Weekend is co-sponsored by the county Convention and Visitor's Bureau, Parks and Recreation, the City of Hurricane, and the Hurricane Woman's Club. The event runs through until Sunday. For information, visit www.putnamcountycvb.com or www.civilwardays.com. Reach Zac Taylor at Zachary.Tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.