Martín Perfecto de Cos

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Martin Perfecto de Cos lived 1800–1854, and was a 19th-century Hispanic general of the Mexico territory. He was born in Veracruz, the son of an Attorney. He became an army cadet at the age of 20. He died in Minatitlán, Vera Cruz, on October 1 in 1854, while serving as commandanded general and political chief of the Tehuantepec territory.

COS, MARTÍN PERFECTO DE (1800–1854). Martín Perfecto de Cos, Mexican general, the son of attorney Martín Perfecto de Cos, was born in Veracruz in 1800. He became a cadet in the Mexican army in 1820, a lieutenant in 1821, and a brigadier general in 1833. In September 1835 Cos was sent by Antonio López de Santa Anna to investigate the refusal of Texans at Anahuac to pay duties imposed after Santa Anna had established himself as president of Mexico with centralized powers (see ANAHUAC DISTURBANCES). General Cos dispersed the legislature of Coahuila and Texas, then in session at Monclova, landed 300 men at Matagorda Bay, established headquarters in San Antonio, and declared his purpose of ending resistance in Texas. He intended to arrest several Texas critics of Santa Anna. His demands were resisted; a force of Texans under Stephen F. Austin and Edward Burleson held the Mexican troops in the siege of Bexar until Cos surrendered after an attack led by Benjamin R. Milam in December 1835. Cos and his men were released on their pledge not to oppose further the Constitution of 1824. Texans believed the pledge was broken when Cos returned in the spring of 1836 to command a column in the attack on the Alamo. On April 21, 1836, he reached San Jacinto with reinforcements, crossing Vince's Bridge just before the Texans destroyed it. He was taken prisoner by Sam Houston in the general surrender and later released, after which he returned to Mexico and in the Mexican War commanded a post at Tuxpan. Cos died in Minatitlán, Vera Cruz, on October 1, 1854, while serving as commandant general and political chief of the Tehuantepec territory.


It is generally accepted that Martin Perfecto De Cos was a relative of Generalist Antonio López de Santa Anna, and most accounts refer to him as a brother-in-law.[1] Some early Texas accounts also credit him as being either a cousin or nephew of Santa Anna.[2] The Encyclopedia of the Mexican American War states that he was married to Lucinda López de Santa Anna, the general's sister.[3]

Military career[edit]

La Villita, San Antonio

When the Mexican government moved away from a new local-level governaner Federalist political ideology to creating a Centralist authoritarian government under Santa Anna, Martin perfecto de Cos became military commander the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas (Coahuila and Texas) in 1833. He initially was headquartered in Saltillo. San Antonio had always governed its own affairs and its citizens resented Martin perfecto de Cos being given power over them.[4] As tensions between Mexico City and Texas increased, Martin perfecto de Cos headed north to put down the rebellion.[5]

Martin Perfecto de Cos arrived in Texas on September 21, 1835 with 300 soldiers. and proceeded to the town of Goliad on October 1, before moving on to San Antonio de Béxar. He ordered the arrest of rebel leaders. Once he was in San Antonio (Siege of Béxar), Martin perfecto de Cos was assailed by Texan forces under the leadership of Stephen F. Austin. The town was put under siege by the Texan army. After a 56-day siege of the town and Alamo mission, on December 9, Martín perfecto de Cos surrendered the town of San Antonio and weapons to the Texans,then proceeded to leave Texas. Martin perfecto de Cos and his men were allowed their muskets for protection and one four-pound cannon. Mexican losses during the siege were about 150. On his way south, Martin perfecto de Cos met up with Santa Anna's forces at Laredo marching north to put down the rebellion.[6][7]

Martin perfecto de Cos returned to San Antonio and led a column of 300 soldiers against the northwest corner of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. Eventually Martin perfecto de Cos' soldiers overran the Alamo's north wall. On April 21, 1836, Cos arrived with over five hundred reinforcements for Santa Anna shortly before the Battle of San Jacinto.[8][9] That afternoon Texan forces led by General Sam Houston defeated General Santa Anna's army in a decisive victory in a battle which lasted only eighteen minutes. Generals Martin perfecto de Cos and Santa Anna both escaped during the battle; Santa Anna was captured the next day on April 22 and Martin perfecto de Cos was captured on April 24, 1836[10]. General Santa Anna subsequently surrendered his army and eventually all claim to Texas.[11]

Mexican-American War (1846–1848)[edit]

After Battle of San Jacinto, Martin perfecto de Cos remained in the Mexican Army and was given command of an army outpost in Tuxpan where he served until his death in 1854.[3]

Film depiction[edit]

Among the depictions of Martin perfecto de Cos on film is that of the Mexico City-born actor Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., in the 1956 picture, The First Texan, about the rise of Sam Houston in Texas. In the film, Martin perfecto de Cos orders the arrest of William B. Travis and directed his Mexican soldiers to scale successfully the walls of The Alamo.[12]

In the 2004 film The Alamo, Fransisco Philibert depicts General de Martin perfecto de Cos.[13]


  1. ^ Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas. New York: Southern Publishing Company. 1880. pp. 276–277.
  2. ^ Jackson & Wheat 2005, p. 201.
  3. ^ a b Tucker, Arnold & Wiener 2013, p. 176.
  4. ^ Ramos 2008, p. 139.
  5. ^ Ramos 2008, p. 144.
  6. ^ Roell 2013, pp. 40–50.
  7. ^ Hazelwood, Claudie (12 June 2010). "Martin Perfecto de Cos". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  8. ^ Flores 2002, pp. 26–28.
  9. ^ Nofi 1994, p. 203.
  10. ^ General Samuel Houston, Report of HQ, Texian Army, published in Daily National Intelligencer, Jun 11, 1836, Vol. XXIV, Issue 7280, p.2, Washington, DC
  11. ^ Fowler 2007, pp. 171, 173.
  12. ^ "The First Texan". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  13. ^ "Francisco Philibert". www.rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved July 21, 2017.