Meet Tim Murray of Williamsburg, Va.

An interview with a Color Bearer member

"My goal is to get younger people out to the sites versus just reading about it... Once they see the battlefields, they cannot believe how cool they are and then they are hooked."

Tim Murray, Color Bearer

Color Bearer Tim Murray of Williamsburg, Va.
Color Bearer Tim Murray at Antietam National Battlefield.

American Battlefield Trust: What moved you to first give to our organization?

Tim: Prior to the COVID pandemic I had lived in the Middle East for 12 years and was the CEO of a large corporation. At the end of 2019 I finished my contract and returned home to my family in Virginia who had come back a few years earlier. I had always been interested in the Civil War but never had much time to go visit sites but COVID gave me the perfect opportunity to explore battlefields! Going to battlefields became my own personal therapy and way to clear my mind. Fortunately, I live in Virginia, so I was able to see so many sites within just a couple of hours drive.

As a result of these trips, I started using the Battlefield Trust website which is where I 1st became aware of the organization. The website is an amazing resource to help prepare you for battlefield visits. I also reached out to David Duncan to find out more and he was very generous with his time explaining what Battlefield Trust does as an organization.  

What do you enjoy most about being a Color Bearer?

I enjoy being around other people who share the same passion. None of my friends or family are into visiting battlefields so it was nice to see that there are other people like me. Also, it is a great way to share knowledge and tips about everyone’s favorite place or trail.   

What is your favorite battlefield?

A very tough question but in terms of an actual site and walking the battlefield I have to say Antietam. It was a very significant battle, and the site is perfectly preserved, and you can really feel how the battle flowed. Also, the site is in a remote part of Maryland so when you drive through the windy mountains to get to Sharpsburg it takes you back in time and changes your mindset. I love going down to the Burnside Bridge area and then walking the Snavely’s Ford trail (my #1 trail).

What would you like to pass on to future generations?  

My goal is to get younger people out to the sites versus just reading about it. I am an adjunct professor at Susquehanna University, and I encourage my students to visit battlefields. Fortunately, Susquehanna University is not too far from Gettysburg and Antietam, so I have been able to meet some of them and be their own personal tour guide. Once they see the battlefields, they cannot believe how cool they are and then they are hooked.

Also, I am a big believer in learning from history and going to see a battlefield is the best way to live and breathe it. Also, it gives you an appreciation of the sacrifice all soldiers made to make America the great country that it is today. We as a nation have a lot to learn from battlefields and it is a good way to unite our country and get away from polarized politics.  

If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?

I would like to meet Robert E. Lee. I have read several books on him, and he is a great example of a humble leader, which is a very rare thing in my experience. I believe his “Lead by example” philosophy is what made him so successful and made his men so loyal to him. Also, the tactics and strategies he employed to win so many battles given he was always out manned and out gunned is a testament to his leadership capability and his men’s belief in him.

How Lee surrendered at Appomattox and ordering his troops to lay down their arms and go home is what lead to a peaceful end to the war. Only he had the power to do this and if he had not done this, we would have had guerilla warfare for many years. Also, after the war he never spoke out against the Union and did everything he could to help reconcile the country.

Also, I think what he did after the war to save Washington College (now Washington and Lee) is also an amazing story. Washington University was bankrupt after the war until he became President and rebuilt the university into a thriving institution. He passed up many other lucrative offers to use his name and instead chose to dedicate his life to Washington & Lee University.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I would like to thank David Duncan for his leadership of the Battlefield Trust organization. It has been a true pleasure getting to know David and the whole team at Battlefield Trust. They are all great people to interact with and I enjoy meeting them at every event. The team’s hard work and dedication is paying big dividends on the donations we make, and they are to be commended for their efforts.