Rossie O. Knight and Ehrenbreitstein Fortress

Rossie O. Knight. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation www.berriencountyga.com

Rossie O. Knight. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation http://www.berriencountyga.com

Rossie O. Knight

Rossie O. Knight was a son of Sovin J. Knight and Ann Eliza Allen of Ray City, GA.

In the years from 1913 to 1917, Rossie was engaged in America’s preparation for the coming conflict, in military service with the Coast Artillery Corps at Fort Hancock, NJ, and working to produce war matériel at the Nixon Nitration Works.

On April 6, 1917, the United States Congress formally declared war on Germany and its allies. By  August 7, 1917 he was serving overseas with the U.S. First Division . He received the Victory Medal with five battle clasps for his service with the 1st Division Ammunition Train in France during WWI.

After the Armistice was declared on November 11, 1918  Knight served in Germany as part of the Army of Occupation. On August 6, 1919 he was transferred from the 1st Division Ammunition Train to Company B, 7th Machine Gun Battalion, and on September 17, 1919 he finally got his sergeant’s stripes back.   For the next 18 months, Sergeant Knight was stationed with his company at Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, Koblenz, Germany.

ehrenbreitstein-wwi

First American flag to fly over a German Fort across the Rhine, Ehrenbreitstein Fortress

 

Ehrenbreitstein Fortress (German: Festung Ehrenbreitstein) is a fortress on the mountain of the same name on the east bank of the Rhine opposite the town of Koblenz in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Ehrenbreitstein was built as part of a strong ring of fortifications around Koblenz, the largest military fortress in Europe after Gibraltar. When the Koblenz fortifications west of the Rhine were dismantled in 1890-1903, Ehrenbreitstein Fortress remained as the main defense of the Rhine crossing.  After WWI it was occupied by the US Army as their headquarters during the Occupation of the Rhineland.

American Flag over Fortress Ehrenbreitstein, Koblenz, Germany, circa 1919

American Flag over Fortress Ehrenbreitstein, Koblenz, Germany, circa 1919

 

In the 1920 census, Rossie O. Knight was enumerated at Fortress Ehrenbreitstein, Koblenz, Germany with Company B, 7th Machine Gun Battalion.

1920 census enumeration of Rossie O. Knight while stationed in Germany

1920 census enumeration of Rossie O. Knight while stationed in Germany at Fortress Ehrenbreitstein, Koblenz, Germany

https://archive.org/stream/14thcensusofpopu2040unit#page/n463/mode/1up

 

Review of the American Forces in Germany
On February 14, 1921, the 7th Machine Gun Battalion ceased to exist pursuant to War Department orders.

According to family historian, Bryan Shaw,  “Rossie Knight returned home after the war and was plagued with the effects of multiple gas exposures.  Rossie remained single the rest of his life. He died November 16, 1963 at the age of 71. He is buried at the Pleasant Cemetery in the Lois community.”

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2 Comments

  1. Bill Outlaw said,

    February 20, 2015 at 6:01 am

    Another great post. Like Rossie, my spouse’s grandfather had a life-long disability that resulted from gas exposure.

    We too easily forget the horrors of chemical weapons. In this regard, I have two large bw prints taken from a balloon of troops being gassed. They hang on my stairs.

    Nobelist Haber worked under the impression that gas would end the war sooner and, in the end, save lives. His wife, said to be depressed by his work, committed suicide. His institute also developed the Zyklon insecticides, which were later used in extermination camps, ironic because Haber, a Jew, had to flee Germany. On the other hand, we still use his method to make nitrogen fertilizer, which is estimated to increase the human carrying capacity of Earth by 50-100%. I digress, but, such a conflict: good and evil.

  2. Bryan Shaw said,

    February 20, 2015 at 7:17 am

    I must make a correction in my statement that Rossie Knight remained single the remainder of his life. I was basing that on the information provided by the family. In the 1930 census as well as the 1940 census he was listed as being married. I have not been able to locate his marriage information to date, however he appears to have remained a patient (sometimes referred to as an “inmate”) of the VA Hospital in Augusta through the 1930s and 1940s. He died November 16, 1963.


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