Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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Johann de Kalb - A Family Klos - Revolutionary War General
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Johann de Kalb
KALB, Johann de, soldier, born
in Huttendorf, Bavaria, 29 July, 1721; died near Camden, South Carolina, 19
August, 1780. He served in the French army in 1743 as lieutenant, and in 1747 he
was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general under Marsha1 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 General 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 August, 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 General
Gates before the arrival of the Virginia troops, which were known to be
advancing. General 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 gugeley'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, Charles Dubuysson, 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 General Lafayette
in 1825. On 16 August, 1886, a statue of Kalb, executed in Rome by Ephraim
Keyser, was placed in front of the court house in Annapolis, Maryland, 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).
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