Kalb, Johann (Ger. yōˈhän kälp) [key], 1721–80, American general in the Revolution, known generally as Baron de Kalb, b. Hüttendorf, Germany. He assumed his title for military reasons and as Jean de Kalb served France in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War. He again served France in 1768 as a secret agent in the English colonies in America. Silas Deane offered (1776) commissions to Kalb, Lafayette, and other European soldiers of fortune, which the Continental Congress at first refused to honor. Finally Kalb was made general and was with Washington at Valley Forge. In 1780 he was made second in command to Horatio Gates in the Carolina campaign, and he died (Aug. 19, 1780) from wounds received in the battle of Camden.
See A. E. Zucker, General de Kalb, Lafayette's Mentor (1966).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.