Martín Perfecto de Cos and José Nicolás de la Portilla

Portrait of Martín Perfecto de Cos

Martín Perfecto de Cos
Born in Veracruz in 1800, General Cos saw more action during the Texas Revolution than most Mexican officers. In 1835, the 36-year-old general commanded troops during the siege and storming of Béxar. In 1836, he fought at the Alamo and later at San Jacinto. He was related to Santa Anna, but sources disagree exactly how. In Mary Austin Holley’s 1836 book, she labeled Cos as Santa Anna’s brother-in-law; others identified him as a cousin or nephew. Yet, Cos’s service records reveal that he was single in 1836. He later married Santa Anna’s sister, but that was not until 1840.

Portrait of José Nicolás de la Portilla

José Nicolás de la Portilla
Lieutenant Colonel Portilla was born in Vera Cruz in 1808. Following the battle of Coleto, General José de Urrea placed Texan prisoners under Portilla’s custody at Goliad. On March 26, Mexican Dictator Santa Anna directed him to execute his captives immediately. But, he also received Urrea’s instructions to "treat the prisoners with consideration.” He passed an agonizing night before concluding he had no option but to follow the supreme commander’s directive, resulting in the Goliad Massacre, during which Mexican soldiers gunned down some 342 helpless Texans. The shame of that decision followed Portilla to his grave.