Texas History - Capitulation

A Threat and a Capitulation

History is not the past. History is what we know about the past.

What we know about the past comes from what are called primary sources. Those writings from the time/event we are trying to understand which come from people who took part or witnessed what happened.

​​​​​​​People can (and do) publish anything they want about history, but if what they say isn’t backed up by the primary sources, it’s only fit for a landfill.

Let’s look at two documents, one from just prior to the Texas Revolution, and the other from its early months.

The Cos Decree

The first document is the decree issued July 5, 1835 by General Martin Perfecto de Cos to the inhabitants of Texas.

The context: The Mexican Constitution of 1824 had been abolished and the elected state governments dissolved. There was resistance to these actions in many of the Mexican states.

Read it closely and think about what Cos was trying to accomplish. What was the general threatening and why? What did the residents of Texas need to do to avoid what Cos was threatening?



Commanding General and Inspector of the Eastern Internal States.


I MAKE it known to all and every one of the inhabitants of the three departments of Texas, that whenever, under any pretext whatsoever, or through a badly conceived zeal in favor of the individuals who have acted as authorities in the state, and have been deposed by the resolution of the Sovereign General Congress, any should attempt to disturb the public order and peace, that the inevitable consequences of the war will bear upon them and their property, inasmuch as they do not wish to improve the advantages afforded them by their situation, which places them beyond the uncertainties that have agitated the people of the centre of the Republic.

If the Mexican Government has cheerfully lavished upon the new settlers all its worthiness of regard, it will likewise know how to repress with strong arm all those who, forgetting their duties to the nation which has adopted them as her children, are pushing forward with a desire to live at their own option without any subjection to the laws. Wishing, therefore, to avoid the confusion which would result from the excitement of some bad citizens, I make the present declaracion, with the resolution of sustaining it.

Matamoros, July 5, 1835.


Here are images of the decree.

It was printed in Spanish on one side and English on the other.

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The Capitulation of General Cos

Below is the text ​​​​​​​ of the capitulation General Cos agreed to after his surrender in December of 1835.

The context: General Cos had kept his promise to come to Texas if resistance to the new form of government persisted. The battles of Gonzales and Goliad occurred in early October, with the Battle of Concepcion finishing out the month.

The Siege of Bexar took up the month of November. Then Ben Milam led the Texians into San Antonio, forcing General Cos and his thousand plus men into the Alamo where they surrendered.

The terms of the capitulation were negotiated by six commissioners, three for each side, and signed by generals Cos and Burleson.

What do these articles of capitulation tell you about the views and goals of the combatants?

December 11, 1835.


Entered into by General Martin Perfecto de Cos, of the Permanent troops, and General Edward Burleson, of the Colonial troops of Texas. Being desirous of preventing the further effusion of blood, and the ravages of civil war, have agreed on the following stipulations:

1st. That General Cos and his officers retire into the interior of the republic, under parole of honor; that they will not in any way oppose the re-establishment of the federal Constitution of 1824.

2d. That the one hundred infantry lately arrived with the convicts, the remnant of the battalion of Morelos, and the cavalry, retire with the general; taking their arms and ten rounds of cartridges for their muskets.

3d. That the general take the convicts brought in by Colonel Ugartechea beyond the Rio Grande.

4th. That it is discretionary with the troops to follow their general, remain, or go to such point as they may deem proper: but in case they should all or any of them separate, they are to have their arms, etc.

5th. That all the public property, money, arms and munitions of war, be inventoried and delivered to General Burleson.

6th. That all private property be restored to its proper owners.

7th. That three officers of each army be appointed to make out the inventory, and see that the terms of the capitulation be carried into effect.

8th. That three officers on the part of General Cos remain for the purpose of delivering over the said property, stores, &c.

9th. That General Cos with his force, for the present, occupy the Alamo; and General Burleson, with his force, occupy the town of Bejar; and that the soldiers of neither party pass to the other armed.

10th. General Cos shall, within six days from the date hereof, remove his force from the garrison he now occupies.

11th. In addition to the arms before mentioned, General Cos shall be permitted to take with his force, a four-pounder (cannon), and ten rounds of powder and ball.

12th. The officers appointed to make the inventory and delivery of the stores, etc. shall enter upon the duties to which they have been appointed, forthwith.

13th. The citizens shall be protected in their persons and property.

14th. General Burleson will furnish General Cos with such provisions as can be obtained, necessary for his troops to the Rio Grande, at the ordinary price of the country.

15th . The sick and wounded of General Cos’s army, together with a surgeon and attendants, are permitted to remain.

16th. No person, either citizen or soldier, to be molested on account of his political opinions hitherto expressed.

17th. That duplicates of this capitulation be made out in Castilian (Spanish) and English, and signed by the commissioners appointed, and ratified by the commanders of both armies.

18th. The prisoners of both armies, up to this day, shall be put at liberty.

The commissioners, Jose Juan Sanchez, adjutant inspector; Don Ramon Musquiz, and lieutenant Francisco Rada, and interpreter, Don Miguel Arciniega; appointed by the commandant and inspector, General Martin Perfecto de Cos, in connection with colonel F. W. Johnson, major R. C. Morris, and captain J. G. Swisher, and interpreter John Cameron; appointed on the part of general Edward Burleson: after a long and serious discussion, adopted the eighteen preceding articles, reserving their ratification by the generals of both armies. In virtue of which, we have signed this instrument in the city of Bejar, on the 11th of December, 1835.

Signed: Jose Juan Sanchez, Ramon Musquiz, J. Francisco De Rada, Miguel Arciniega, Interpreter. F. W. Johnson, Robert C. Morris, James G. Swisher, John Cameron, Interpreter.

I consent to, and will observe the above articles.


Ratified and approved.

EDWARD BURLESON Commander-in-chief of the Volunteer Army.

A true copy.

EDWARD BURLESON Commander-in-chief.

Texas Quote

“This country is full of enterprising and persevering people - the timid and lazy generally return to the states.”

- James Nicholson, newly arrived in Bastrop,

taken from a letter to his wife back in New York


1 Like

Coachv - thanks for these posts. As a student of 19th century Texas history (there’s that word again), thoroughly enjoy these.

The end of the post reminds me of a Texas frontier saying:

Texas is heaven for men and dogs, and hell on women and horses.

Currently enjoying “Early settlers and Indian fighters of southwest Texas” by A J Sowell