Senior Thesis Leads to Civil War Book

Ryan Quint has parlayed his fascination with the Civil War to a job as a historian and a burgeoning career as an author. His first book, about the Battle of Monocacy, was recently published by Savas Beatie. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Ryan Quint has parlayed his fascination with the Civil War to a job as a historian and a burgeoning career as an author. His first book, about the Battle of Monocacy, was recently published by Savas Beatie.
Photo by Norm Shafer.

By Emily Battle

It was a book that got Ryan Quint ’15 hooked on Civil War history as a child growing up in Maine.

“When I was 8 or 9 years old, I read a book about a Civil War drummer boy,” Quint said. Quint was fascinated by the fact that kids his own age had played a role in the Civil War.

Now Quint has a book of his own that he hopes will get others interested in learning about the war.

Determined to Stand and Fight: The Battle of Monocacy, July 9, 1864 was published in 2017 by Savas Beatie as part of the Emerging Civil War Series. These books are meant to be engaging and accessible reads for newcomers to Civil War history.

Quint started writing appendices to other books in the series while he was still a student at UMW. This is the first book on which he has been the lead author. Its focus is the 1864 Battle of Monocacy, in which Confederates under Lt. Gen. Jubal Early defeated Union forces under Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace near Frederick, Maryland.

Quint was able to write the book in a year, largely because he had completed his senior thesis at UMW on the Battle of Monocacy.

Associate Professor of History Porter Blakemore was Quint’s thesis adviser. Quint also studied with Professor Claudine Ferrell, chair of the Department of History and American Studies. His paper was awarded the UMW Joseph Carroll Vance Award for Excellence in Historical Research.

For Quint, the opportunity to study Civil War history in a town where so much of it occurred felt like a perfect match. As a child, he’d read enough about Civil War events in Fredericksburg that the city’s name drew him to the University of Mary Washington’s table at a college fair.

“I walked over and said, ‘Tell me about your school,’ ” Quint said. “I thought, ‘I can study the Civil War at a site where it occurred.’ ”

Quint remembers being starry-eyed when his freshman orientation week ended with an ice cream party at Brompton, which had withstood the fighting of the 1862 and 1863 battles of Fredericksburg and served as a hospital after the Battle of the Wilderness.

He was an intern at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park in the summer of 2013. That’s where he met Chris Mackowski, a historian who founded the Emerging Civil War series.

The connection got Quint started on his professional writing career.

That career continues as Quint, who lives in Fredericksburg with wife Joanna Jourdan Quint ’15, travels the state to research a book about Fairfax County during the Civil War.

Quint also works as a seasonal historian for the National Park Service and a tour guide for the George Washington Foundation at Historic Kenmore Plantation in downtown Fredericksburg.

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