San Jancinto Museum of History

Martín Perfecto de Cos

MARTÍN DE COS

Soldiers! We shall only delay the commencement of the campaign, for such time as is necessary to concentrate all our forces and will then prove to the colonists, that the Mexican soldiers have never feared dangers, and conquer with greater glory a boastful enemy.

— General Cos addressing his troops
April 13, 1835


Martín Perfecto de Cos (1800–1854)

General, provided Mexican reinforcements at San Jacinto

Cos was born in Veracruz in 1800. The son of an attorney, at the age of 20 he became an army cadet. He wanted to be a career soldier. And he was, eventually climbing to the rank of General in 1835.

General Cos watch
Pocket watch owned by Martín Perfecto de Cos.

He first came on the Texas scene in September of 1835. Sent by Santa Anna to investigate tax evasion in the town of Anahuac, Cos took a force of 300 to Matagorda Bay and set up a headquarters for himself in San Antonio. From there, he would arrest Santa Anna’s critics and crush the rebellion before it blossomed. Or so he thought.

As it turned out, Cos’ trips to Texas were never what he’d hoped. Emboldened by the recent win at Gonzales, Texas rebels under Stephen F. Austin and Edward Burleson marched to San Antonio expressing support for the 1824 constitution.

Though Cos controlled both San Antonio and the Alamo itself, the rebels had the advantage of knowledge of the territory. The Texians laid siege to San Antonio for more than a month and a few heated fights occurred. For Cos, the siege evaporated his supplies and starved his men and animals.

In December, Cos finally surrendered his position to the rebels. He and his men were allowed passage home after signing terms to Edward Burleson agreeing to retire to the interior of the Mexican republic under parole of honor, and never again to invade Texas with arms.

But it would not be his last trip to Texas.

In fact, he returned to the Alamo in 1836 alongside General Santa Anna and led some of Santa Anna’s forces in the assault. Texans believed he betrayed his word by returning with arms. While that may be, Santa Anna was the true Mexican decision-maker, defending the honor of his nation.

Cos Uniform Trim
Silver lace trim, from the uniform of General Cos.

Cos would meet with Texas forces one final time — at the Battle of San Jacinto. Just before Texan forces burned Vince’s Bridge, Cos joined Santa Anna on the field with reinforcements of over 500 men. But the extra men would serve little purpose.

General Cos was one of the 730 Mexican soldiers taken prisoner in the Battle of San Jacinto. He was released after surrender, eventually returning to Mexico and an obscure military post in Tuxpan. He died in his birthplace of Veracruz, still serving his nation as a soldier and politician.

To learn more about Cos, look him up in our Veteran Biographies section. To learn more about the key events of the Texas War of Independence, check out our interactive timeline.