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De Kalb, Johann (1721-1780) to Richard Caswell

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01766 Author/Creator: De Kalb, Johann (1721-1780) Place Written: Deep River, North Carolina Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 9 July 1780 Pagination: 2 p. ; 32.9 x 41 cm.

Summary of Content: Signed "Baron de Kalb." Writes to Major General Caswell about the Camden campaign. Discusses trouble procuring provisions. Judges that it would not be prudent to travel "not even to Cole's bridge with our whole Body of Troops, for we durst not expose parties of Collecting Provisions, when the Enemies are So near, So Superior in Cavalry & for what I know in Infry; if you would chuse not to go as far as Cole's Bridge but halt Where you now are...We might with propriety reassure our plan for Coxe's." Notes that he will send back some artillery to lighten their traveling load. Also suggests another strategy if Caswell does not agree to the one he outlined. De Kalb died the next month at the Battle of Camden. Written at Camp Deep River. Addressed to "The Honorable Major General Caldwell."

Background Information: Johann De Kalb, called Baron De Kalb by Americans, was the protege of the Marquis de Lafayette. He came to America to aid in the American Revolution in 1777, serving doing ...administrative work. In 1780, he obtained a field command and led the American army to relieve the Charleston, South Carolina, which had been taken by the British in June 1780. He died on 18 August 1780 at the Battle of Camden.
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Full Transcript: Camp Deep River July 9th 1780. at 1 Clock P.M.
I am favored with the honor of your letter of this day 8 oClock in the morning. I should be glad ...to be able to move and join you either on the Road to or at Cole's Bridge but I am apprehensive I can do neither for want of Provision. With much labour we have not been able yet to procure for two days together and no better prospect; my parties left near Lindley's mill had very little success till now. Those I sent, at my arrival here, towards Dixon's 8 Coxes Settlements, though commanded by the most proper officer, have met with all the difficulties and ill will from the inhabitants so that there is nothing to be got there with their consent. Therefore I shall be obliged to move towards them to procure the necessaries, this I propose to do the 11th.
The scarcity of provisions without which at least for 9 or ten days on hand I do not think it would be prudent to venture to P.D. not even to Cole's bridge with our whole Bodies of Troops, for we durst not expose parties of Collecting Provisions, when the Enemies are So near, So Superior in Cavalry & for what I know in Infry; if you would chuse not to go as far as Cole's Bridge but half where you now are, and let me have your opinion on the Subject, We might with propriety reassume our plan for Coxe's and there to consider what farther Direction [2] may be most Eligible. I am told that Coxe's is a very Publick Road and that there are Leading ones to Salisbury P.D. &c.
I intend to send back part of the park of artry
The field and Gl. Offrs. of this camp are to meet me at my Quarters to morrow morning to devise on means of lessening our Baggage.
Should you still think it practicable to go to Coles and means found out to Subsist us there, Dixon's Settlement will not be too far out of my way if I was to move there before I can have your opinion.
I have the honor to be with great respect & Esteem
Dear General
your most obedient hble servant
Baron de Kalb
The Honable
Major Genl Caswell

Public Service
The Honorable
Major General Caswell
at his Head Quarters
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People: De Kalb, Johann, 1721-1780
Caswell, Richard, 1729-1789

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Battle of CamdenImmigration and MigrationRevolutionary WarMilitary HistoryBattleMilitary ProvisionsCavalryInfantryArtilleryContinental ArmyDiet and nutrition

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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