Johann de Kalb (1721 - 1780) had a distinguished career in the French army and later served as a spy for the French Court, touring the British American colonies in 1768. He returned to America with the Marquis de Lafayette in 1777 to assist the American revolutionaries, and Congress appointed him a major general in the Continental Army. Having led the Maryland and Delaware Continental troops to the South in 1780, he fought heroically at the Battle of Camden, where he received 11 gunshot and bayonet wounds. He was treated at the British military hospital at Camden by Lord Cornwallis's own surgeons, and reportedly told a British officer: "I die the death I always prayed for: the death of a soldier fighting for the rights of man." He died on August 19 and was buried at this location with full military honors. Disinterred in 1825, his body was reburied at Bethesda Presbyterian Church on DeKalb Street.
"Too much honor cannot be paid by Congress, to the memory of the Baron De Kalb. He was every thing an excellent officer should be, and in the cause of the United States, he has sacrificed his life." Gen. Horatio Gates