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Johann de Kalb

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Dekalbwounded.jpg
An engraving showing the wounded Baron de Kalb

Johann Henry Jules Alexandre von Robaii, Baron de Kalb (born Johann Kalb) (1721-1780) was a German soldier and a volunteer who served as a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

De Kalb was born in Huettendorf near Erlangen, Bavaria on June 19, 1721, the son of peasants. He later learned French, English, and enough social skills to get a substancial military commission in the Lower Regiment of the French Army (where he served as Jean de Kalb). He served with distinguished honor throughout the War of Austrian Succession and won the Order of Military Merit in 1763, giving him his baronic title.

In 1768, he traveled to America on a covert mission to determine extent of discontent amongst colonists on behalf of France. In 1777 he returned again with his protégé, the Marquis de Lafayette, and joined the Continental Army.

He was at Valley Forge for most of the 1777-1778 winter, and commanded a division of Patterson's and Learned's Brigades. During the Battle of Camden, DeKalb's horse was killed under him. He fell from his horse and was shot three times and bayonetted repeatedly. His friend and aide Le Chevalier du Buysson blocked additional blows with his own body that might have killed the Baron sooner. However, he died three days later, on October 19, 1780 while a prisoner at Camden, South Carolina.

Several towns and counties in the U.S. are named DeKalb after him.

In 1886 a monument[1] (http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/speccol/sc1500/sc1545/e_catalog_2002/keyser.html) to Baron de Kalb was erected on the grounds of the Maryland state house to honor his contributions to the revolution.

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