Kalb, Johann

Kalb, Johann [Baron de] (1721-1780) General: De Kalb was born in Bavaria, and began his military career at the age of 16 in a French infantry regiment. He married into wealth and declared himself a baron, which made it easier to advance through the ranks in the French military. In 1776, as Brigadier General, de Kalb received permission to volunteer for the American Continental Army. Congress commissioned him a major general the following year. In 1778, he was appointed second in command of a planned, but aborted invasion of Canada. Afterwards, he was assigned to the relief of Charles Town, but the British took the city before de Kalb's reinforcements arrived. De Kalb joined Horatio Gates in the Southern Department and, in the Battle of Camden in 1780, led troops against the British. Despite fierce effort, the Continental forces were eventually driven back, and de Kalb was wounded, dying several days after the battle.