Part of the overall San
Francisco Port of Embarcation, Camp John T. Knight, was the name
of the administrative and cantonment area of what became the
Oakland Army Base. This name was officialy used from 1942 until
it was fully incorporated into the Oakland Army Base in 1946.
It was named for Brigadier General John Thornton Knight, who
was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal during World War
I for his outstanding service in the Quartermaster Corps.
John Thornton Knight,
was a brilliant officer in the United States Army, rising to
the rank of Brigadier General. An account of his record is given
in the Hampden-Sydney magazine and is as follows
"John Thornton Knight, 1880, Brigadier General, U. S.
A., retired, died at his home in San Francisco, California, after
a brief illness of pneumonia, January 15, 1930. He was the son
of the late Captain John H. Knight of Poplar Hill, Prince Edward
County, Virginia, and was born April 18, 1861.
"He received his preparatory training at Prince Edward Academy,
Worsham, Virginia, under Professor James R. Thornton and entered
Hampden-Sydney College in 1877, a member of the class of 1880.
In 1879 he entered the U. S. Military Academy at West Point and
in due time graduated (1884) and received a commission as second
lieutenant of cavalry in the U. S. Army.
"After service in the West, he was appointed Commandant
of Cadets at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute; then fought
in Cuba during the Spanish-America War; and for some years was
stationed in the Philippine Islands where he rendered valuable
service, as also in China and Japan.
"In the World War his work was especially noteworthy. He
was Quarter-Master of the Port of Embarkation, Newport News,
Virginia, August, 1917, to September, 1918; served overseas at
Quarter-Masters Base, Brest, France, October, 1918, to January,
1919; was Chief Quarter-Master, A.E.F., April to September, 1919,
with supervision extending to England, Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg,
Spain, Italy, and Russia. He was made Commander of the Order
of Leopold -- a citation conferred by the King of Belgium and
was commended by President Wilson for specially meritorious work
as Quarter-Master at Newport News, Virginia.
"This military record, one of distinguished service, speaks
for itself; but it does not give the intimate picture of the
man as his friends knew him. Physically, no one could have looked
the soldier more completely -- six feet and more in height, erect,
and strikingly handsome. As stated above, General Knight's first
commission was in the cavalry. This was due in large measure
to his superb horsemanship. There are those yet living who remember
his skill and grace in the cavalry drills on the old paradegrounds
at the Military Academy. Some one has said that Virginians madesuch
splendid soldiers in the War Between the States because they
ride, shoot, and tell the truth. General Knight excelled in all
three of these qualifications. His magnificent seat in the saddle
reminded one of those great Virginia Cavalrymen -- Stuart and
"At the same time, his was one of the most lovable of natures
-- kindly, sweet-tempered, generous, loyal. He was a man with
whom one liked to associate -- affectionate but sincere, firm
but kind, conscientious but tolerant -- the embodiment of that
rare and charming trait, manly gentleness.
"Since his retirement, General Knight had made his home
in San Francisco, and was buried at the Presidio there with the
usual military honors. He is survived by his widow, four sons,
and a daughter. Three sisters still reside in Prince Edward --
Miss Bettie B. Knight, and Mrs. W. G. Dunnington of Poplar Hill,
and Mrs. J. B. Strachan, of Farmville."