Powhatan Civil War Round Table
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David Ruth - No Turning Back:

A Retrospective Examination of the 1864 Overland Campaign

The PCWRT says farewell to 2018 on Thursday, December 20th with our annual Christmas dinner at the County Seat Restaurant. 

In March 1864, following his successes in the Mississippi region, General Ulysses S. Grant was called to the nation’s capital and promoted to Lieutenant General, giving him command of all Union Armies, answering only to Abraham Lincoln.

With Maj. Gen.George G. Meade in command of the Army of the Potomac, and Maj. Gen.William Tecumseh Sherman in command in the Western Theater, Grant andLincolndevised a coordinated strategy that would strike at the heart of the Confederacy from multiple directions.  This was the first time the Union armies would have a coordinated offensive across a number of theaters.

Central to this strategy, The Overland Campaign was a series of battles fought inVirginiaduring May and June 1864,and the resulting onslaught would eventually bring about the end of the war.

This month we introduce historian David Ruth, co-author of “No Turning Back, A Guide to the Overland campaign.” 

A native of Pennsylvania, David grew up under the shadows of the Gettysburg Round Tops.  With a family totally immersed in history, particularly about the Civil War, it was preordained that he was going to absorb that interest as well.  And many summer trips to the battlefields with his father at an early age sealed the deal.

David first started working for the National Park Service in 1973 as a fifer in a Confederate camp at Chancellorsville where he also spent the next few summers honing his historian and tour guide skills.  In 1975 he graduated from Virginia Tech with a history degree in honors and had the privilege of working with Dr. James I. Robertson who served as his advisor for his honors thesis that explored the Battle of Salem Church.

With persistence and tenacity David and his wife moved from park to park to gain experience, and David was finally rewarded with a permanent NPS position in 1977 in Philadelphia.  After that assignment he was sent to Manassas Battlefield and then to Fort Sumter in 1981 where he served as both park historian and chief ranger.  In 1991, he relocated to Richmond where he initially served as chief of Interpretation, then Assistant Superintendent, and in 2008 was promoted to park Superintendent.  He retired from that position this past January with 44 years of government service.

During his career he had the opportunity to work on historical productions including “North and South”, “Glory,” and served as the on-camera commentator for Civil War Journal’s Fort Sumter episode.  He has written several book reviews, and in 2014 David and two of his colleagues published, “No Turning Back, A Guide to the Overland campaign.”  He is now in the research phase of a book that will examine the cavalry operations of the Overland Campaign leading to Phil Sheridan’s Richmond Raid and the mortal wounding of Jeb Stuart.  Publication is planned for next summer.  He is scoping out a future publication on the Blackford family of Virginia.

We hope you will join us!


The County Seat offers our members and guests a main course, or the soup and salad bar.  December’s main course will consist of tossed salad, roast pork, mashed potatoes, peas with pearl onions, and dessert.  Please specify your dining preference (main course or soup and salad bar) when you submit your pre-paid reservation, which is due the Tuesday prior to each meeting. This month reservations must be received by December 18th.

Thursday, December 20, 2018 6:30 PM

$16.00 for members, $20.00 for guests.

Pre-Paid Reservations Must Be Received By December 18, 2018

Mail Your Payment To:

PCWRT, P.O. Box 1144, Powhatan, VA 23139

Checks Or Money Orders Only Please


Thursday, January 17 2019 – Our speaker will be Bobby Wilcox.  Topic to be announced and more information about upcoming presentations in 2019 will soon follow.  We wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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