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The Battle of Camden, Part 2

RESOLUTIONS PASSED BY CONGRESS
Congress on the 14th day of October, 1780, passed the following resolutions:

Resolved, That a monument be erected to the memory of the late Major General the Baron de Kalb, in the city of Annapolis, in the State of Maryland, with the following inscription:

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF THE BARON DE KALB
KNIGHT OF THE ROYAL ORDER OF
MILITARY MERIT,
BRIGADIER OF THE ARMY OF FRANCE
AND MAJOR GENERAL IN THE SERVICE
OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
HAVING SERVED WITH HONOR AND REPUTATION
FOR THREE YEARS,
HE GAVE A LAST & GLORIOUS PROOF OF HIS ATTACHMENT
TO THE LIBERTIES OF MANKIND
AND THE CAUSE OF AMERICA
IN THE ACTION NEAR CAMDEN IN THE STATE OF SO. CAROLINA
ON THE 16TH OF AUGUST 1780
WHERE LEADING ON THE TROOPS OF
THE DELAWARE & MARYLAND LINES AGAINST
SUPERIOR NUMBERS
AND ANIMATING THEM BY HIS EXAMPLE
TO DEEDS OF VALOUR
HE WAS PIERCED WITH MANY WOUNDS
AND ON THE 19 FOLLOWING EXPIRED
IN THE 48 YEAR OF HIS AGE,
THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
IN GRATITUDE TO HIS ZEAL, SERVICES AND MERIT
HAVE ERECTED THIS MONUMENT.
Resolved, That the thanks of Congress be given to Generals Smallwood and Gist, and to the officers and soldiers of the Maryland and Delaware lines; the different corps of artillery; Colonel Porterfield’s and Major Armstrong’s corps of light infantry, and Colonel Armand’s cavalry; for their bravery and good conduct, displayed in the action of the 16th of August last, near Camden, in the State of South Carolina.

Resolved, That the thanks of Congress be given to such of the Militia officers and soldiers who distinguished themselves by their valour on that occasion.

For more than a century no action was taken to erect the monument in De Kalb’s memory. It was not until February 19, 1883, that Congress appropriated a sum of money for this purpose.

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Monument Erected to General De Kalb in Camden, S. C., in 1825 by the Citizens of Camden. The cornerstone of this monument was laid by the General Marquis de La Fayette, using a silver trowel which is now in possession of the Grand Lodge of Masons of South Carolina. (March 16.1929)

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The Battle of Camden presents a picture unique in the history of our country. The mention of it calls to mind the havoc wrought by untrained troops fleeing from a battle field, pursued by the phantoms of terror; troops that were fully expected by their leaders to fight, constituting two-thirds of the Army, terrifiedly rushing from the battle field without firing a shot, before scarcely any of their number were wounded; deserting the regular forces whom they might have protected and from whom protection would have been received. The cowardice of the militia, induced as it was by mob fear, was followed by no miraculous intervention whereby those who held their ground and bravely fought might be saved. The latter, in turn, were also overcome by the enemy. Their gallantry alone could not win victory from a more numerous foe of equal military merit. What added to the distressing effect of the battle was the death of a gallant leader, well beloved by his adopted country, and the cruel and unjustifiable contumely heaped upon the Army, whose only mistake in this campaign was to have faith in the fighting spirit of his army, a confidence which was betrayed by all but the Maryland division, the Delaware regiment, the one regiment of North Carolinians, and the Artillery.

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