William Read Scurry was born in Gallatin, Tennessee, and moved to Texas at the age of sixteen. While in Texas he studied law, and served as a congressman, as well as a member of the House of Representatives. Scurry participated in the Secession Conference of Texas. Scurry was a veteran of the Mexican-American War, and at the outbreak of the American Civil War, he entered the Confederate Army as a lieutenant colonel with the Fourth Texas Cavalry.
Scully first saw battle during the New Mexico Campaign in 1862, where he commanded troops with distinction at both the Battle of Valverde and the Battle of Glorietta Pass. He was promoted to brigadier general on September 12, 1863, and helped lead troops when Confederate forces recaptured Galveston, Texas. In 1864, Scurry led his brigade during the Red River Campaign, and fought during the Battle of Mansfield and the Battle of Pleasant Hill. After participating in these battles, Scurry and his brigade were transferred to oppose the advance of Union General Frederick Steele into Texas. On April 30, 1864, William Read Scurry was mortally wounded while leading his men at the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry. During the battle, Scurry refused to be taken to the rear and treated for his wound, leading to his eventual death on the battlefield.