The study of Confederate leaders presents several problems for the student of the Civil War. Most biographies published on the war have been on military men; the emphasis of scholars has been on gallant charges and the many theoretical causes of Confederate defeat in the field. This is compounded by a further issue. Because of the interlocking relationship between military command and political policy, only the most important civilians have received significant attention. Many people served in civilian and military capacities during the war.
Over the years, a number of dedicated students of the war assembled competent, useful compendiums that introduce many nonmilitary topics. Colonel Mark Mayo Boatner The Civil War Dictionary ( 1959) has provided to a generation of scholars a fine one-volume collection of essays on almost every topic that could be of interest to anyone studying the war. Though limited by an inconsistent system of notation, Boatner Dictionary has remained in print and has just been reissued. The late Patricia Faust edited the Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War ( 1986). Faust assembled outstanding scholars who wrote detailed articles on battles, leaders, and other aspects of the war. Unfortunately, Faust died before the completion of the volume, and as a result, there are a number of minor, limiting factors such as a complete lack of notation for the articles. With Boatner volume, The Encyclopedia of the Civil War is an essential reference.