Retired Army Col. Harry E. Ruhsam, 56, an artillery officer and master parachutist, died Monday at Fauquier General Hospital in Warrenton.

He had suffered fatal injuries when a tractor he was operating overturned and crushed him on his cattle farm, Hearthstone, located about three miles north of The Plains.

Col. Ruhsam had lived at Hearthstone since 1966, when he entered the National War College in Washington as a student. He then became an instructor there, retiring from Military service in October, 1972.

Born in Port Washington, Wis., Col. Ruhsam was a graduate of Iowa State University and earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering f rom the University of Arizona.

He entered the Army in June, 1942, and served in the Pacific and China-Burma-India theaters during World War II. His decorations included the Bronze Star, three Legions of Merit and the Purple Heart.

In the late 1950s, Col. Ruhman, who was an authority on the Chinese language, served as U.S. Army attache in Taiwan. In the early 1960s, he was with the Department of the Army general staff here.

He is survived by his wife, June, of the home; a daughter, Joy, of Middleburg; two sons, Jonathan, of Litchfield, Conn., and Harry, of Columbus Ohio; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harry E. Ruhsam, of Albert Lee, Minn., and who brothers, Air Force Col. Hugh Ruhsam, Of Ogden, Utah, and retired Marine Corps Col. John Ruhsam, of Sarasota, Fla.