Carey, William Ridgeway (ca. 1806–1836)

By: Bill Groneman

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

William R. Carey, commander of the Alamo artillery, son of Moses Carey, was born in Virginia about 1806. He was a single man when he arrived at Washington-on-the-Brazos on July 28, 1835, from New Orleans. He joined the volunteer army of Texas at the outbreak of the Texas Revolution and was among the troops that marched to Gonzales during the fight for the Gonzales "Come and take it" cannon. He was appointed second lieutenant on October 28, 1835. During the siege of Bexar Carey received a slight wound to his scalp while manning a cannon. He was promoted to first lieutenant in the field for his actions in the battle. On December 14 he was elected captain of his fifty-six-man artillery company by popular vote of the men. He called his company the Invincibles. The company remained in Bexar as part of the garrison under Lt. Col. James C. Neill. During the weeks before January 14, when Neill moved his entire force into the Alamo, Carey commanded the Alamo compound while Neill commanded the town of Bexar. Neill utilized Carey's company for tough tasks and even, on one occasion, as military police. On January 12, 1836, Carey wrote a detailed letter to his brother and sister and described his activities in Gonzales and San Antonio. The correspondence was received in Philadelphia by his sister Eliza Carey Richardson. During the siege and battle of the Alamo Carey commanded the fort's artillery. He died in the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. His father traveled to Texas to settle his estate and received $198.65 for Carey's military service.

Daughters of the American Revolution, The Alamo Heroes and Their Revolutionary Ancestors (San Antonio, 1976). Bill Groneman, Alamo Defenders (Austin: Eakin, 1990). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Walter Lord, A Time to Stand (New York: Harper, 1961; 2d ed., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978). Phil Rosenthal and Bill Groneman, Roll Call at the Alamo (Fort Collins, Colorado: Old Army, 1985).
Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Bill Groneman, “Carey, William Ridgeway,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994