Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Kalb, Johann de
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Kalb, Johann de
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KALB, Johann de, soldier, b. in Huttendorf, Bavaria, 29 July, 1721; d. near Camden, S. C., 19 Aug., 1780. He served in the French army in 1743 as lieutenant, and in 1747 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general under Marshal Broglie. He took part in the Seven Years' war, and obtained the order of military merit in 1761. After peace was declared he married the daughter of a millionaire of Holland. In 1768 he visited the American colonies as a secret agent of the French government. He was a brigadier in the French service when he made an engagement with Franklin and Silas Deane to join the Continental army. He accordingly accompanied Lafayette to America, arriving in the Bay of Georgetown on 3 June, 1777, and in that year was appointed by congress to be major-general. He began his service under the immediate command of Washington, and was with him at Valley Forge. He served in New Jersey and Maryland until April, 1780, when he was sent to re-enforce Gen. Lincoln, but arrived too late. When Cornwallis heard news of the gathering storm on the borders of South Carolina, he decided to join Lord Rawdon, who was stationed at Camden. He arrived there 13 Aug., and found to his dismay that many of the British troops were ill, and the whole force would amount to but little. He therefore planned to march forward and meet Gen. Gates before the arrival of the Virginia troops, which were known to be advancing. Gen. Gates was joined by Kalb, who commanded the Delaware and Maryland forces, and they decided to attack Camden. While the American army was approaching, Cornwallis struck his tents and marched toward Rugeley's. Neither party was aware of the close proximity of its opponent until the advanced guards met, about two o'clock in the morning. In the battle that ensued soon after sunrise, Kalb commanded on the American right and was driving his adversary, Lord Rawdon, before him, when the defeat of our left wing exposed his flank and rear to the assaults of Webster and Tarleton. Kalb was thus attacked on all sides, but remained during the whole encounter, fighting bravely to the last. Bareheaded and dismounted, with sword in hand, he engaged in one personal encounter after another, encouraging his men with his voice as well as his example, till he had received eleven wounds. His lieutenant, Du Buysson, saved him from instant death. He died three days afterward, and was buried at Camden. A marble monument was erected to his memory by the citizens of that town, the corner-stone being laid by Gen. Lafayette in 1825. On 16 Aug., 1886, a statue of Kalb, executed in Rome by Ephraim Keyser, was placed in front of the court-house in Annapolis, Md., the address being delivered by Thomas F. Bayard, of Delaware. See “Leben des amerikanischen Generals, Johann Kalb,” by Friedrich Kapp (Stuttgart, 1862; English translation, New York, 1870).