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Baron de Kalb, Johann (1721-80)

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KALB, Johann, called Baron de Kalb (1721-80), German-born soldier, who fought in the American Revolution. Born in Hüttendorf, near Bayreuth, in Bavaria, he became a lieutenant in a German regiment of the French army at the age of 22; he fought with distinction in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War, rising to the rank of brigadier general by 1761. In 1768 Kalb was sent to America as an agent of the French government to determine the attitude of the colonies toward Great Britain. He returned to America in 1777 and joined the revolutionary army with the rank of major general. He served briefly under Gen. George Washington before the winter encampment at Valley Forge and later was sent south to help Gen. Horatio Gates. He was second in command to Gates at the disastrous Battle of Camden, S.C., in August 1780. Kalb's troops were finally forced to retreat before the army of Lord Charles Cornwallis, but Kalb himself was wounded and captured by the British. He died of wounds three days after his capture.

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