Martín Perfecto de Cos (1800–1854)

Martiín Perfecto de Cos was a key individual in Santa Anna’s leadership. Born in Veracruz in 1800, he is usually described as being a career military soldier and accounts have him entering the military at around the age of twenty.

Little about his personal life is usually written in American or Texas history books. Cos has been called the brother in law of Santa Anna, married to Lucinda López de Santa Anna, usually noted to be a sibling of Antonio López de Santa Anna, but this is not easily verified with online American genealogy records. Mary Austin Holley, a niece of Stephen F. Austin, is said to have referred to Cos as a brother in law of Santa Anna in her 1830s book about Texas. Other accounts present Cos as having been a single man during the years of the Texas Revolution, but suggest that he could have either been a cousin or a nephew of Santa Anna, or that he could have later married Santa Ana’s sister after the Texas Revolution, perhaps around 1840.

Cos appears to have risen through the ranks after beginning his career as a military cadet. By the time the unrest in Texas on the part of the Texas “rebels” had come to armed conflict, he was a general. He was sent to Texas to Béxar (San Antonio) to try to deal with the matter there and to also investigate the reported tax evasion at Anahuac to the east. He and his troops occupied Béxar in the fall of 1835 and were soon surrounded by rebel Texas forces in what is called the Siege of Béxar. After two months, Cos surrendered and was permitted to return to Mexico under terms that included a pledge that neither he nor his officers would oppose the reestablishment of the Mexican federalist constitution of 1824. It can be argued that Cos did not violate that agreement when he took arms again against Texas forces, since the rebels were not expressly trying to reinstate the 1824 Mexican constitution, but Cos participated in numerous battles with Texas forces after his release.

Cos was serving under Santa Anna during the Battle of the Alamo and is believed to have commanded Mexican troops during that conflict. Shortly afterward, General Cos is mentioned as March, 1836 approached with his being ordered to go with his troops to the fort at Velasco, also known as Velazco, on the Gulf Coast and now part of Freeport. He was to supply the fort with an 8 inch artillery piece and other munitions. Along the way, he appears to have been redirected to join Santa Anna as Mexican troops attempted to engage Sam Houston and his Texas forces.

The next major engagement was the Battle of San Jacinto where Cos is said to have arrived with five hundred troops after Texas forces burned Vince’s Bridge and just before the San Jacinto engagement. Cos was taken prisoner, probably the day after the battle, as was Santa Anna. Cos was ultimately released to return to Mexico. Prisoners who were enlisted men may have generally been confined in the Galveston area where they performed some manual labor whereas officers were relocated to the Liberty area. Regardless, all had been released to return to Mexico within about a year of the Battle of San Jacinto.

Cos is later mentioned as having been a Mexican officer during the Mexican-American war during the mid 1840s and is noted as having died in 1854 in Veracruz, Mexico where he was born.

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