Story of the Civil War battle to capture the "Pottsburg Bridge" in Jacksonville Florida in 1864
Unfortunately, this silent film has been lost, and no known copies exist.
The last known showing was in 1912 in New Zealand.
The story was an actual, true event. A "Civil War" battle in which the main character, is tragically killed and his sister takes his place to accomplish the goal of destroying the Pottsburg Bridge in Jacksonville Florida.
It was filmed with no sound in 1912 on location in Jacksonville Florida, and became very popular in Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.
Subsequently, the British turned the story into a theater production, and it was acted "live" throughout Britain until the advent of World War I.
The bridge in question is located on "Hogan Road" in modern day Jacksonville Florida, where Hogan Road crosses the "Big Pottsburg" creek.
The current bridge is the 5th bridge to occupy the space, and pilings from the previous 4 bridges still exist.
This section of "Hogan Road" follows the original path of the "Old Spanish Trail" that the early Spanish Soldiers from America's oldest city, Saint Augustine, used to travel inland to their "rear-guard" fort on the St Johns River that they called "Fort San Nicolas" in the late 1500's.
The "Old Spanish Trail" is a 1500's era road, and is the oldest known road to have existed in America. It's exact path from Saint Augustine to modern-day Jacksonville has been lost except for the "known" portion where it passes over the "Pottsburg Bridge", which still exists today.
This only remaining section of the Old Spanish Trail is now called "HOGAN ROAD", and is named for the "Hogan" family, who were the first "white" settlers in what is now "Jacksonville" Florida.
Saint Augustine is America's "OLDEST CITY", and, had it survived, Fort San Nicolas/Jacksonville would have been the nations SECOND oldest city.
The site of Fort San Nicolas was located approximately 1500 feet from present day downtown Jacksonville.
The actual location of Fort San Nicolas is now occupied by "Bishop Kenny Catholic High School", and the surrounding neighborhood uses the "English" translation of San Nicolas, aka: Saint Nicholas.
The film "The Battle of Pottsburg Creek" told the sad true story of the Confederate Soldiers who died defending the the City of St Augustine from a "rear-guard" attack by invading Yankee Soldiers who had captured Jacksonville in 1864.
The Yankees had captured the Pottsburg Bridge, and were crossing it to invade St. Augustine when Confederate Soldiers attacked in a suicide mission intent on destroying the bridge.
The Confederates were successful, but at a cost in life.
The film essentially is a LOVE STORY, and ends tragically with the death of the Ranking Confederate Officer, in full view of his sister, as he attempted to blow up the bridge to prevent its use by the Yankees.
He was killed before he could destroy the bridge.
With the bridge still full of Yankee soldiers crossing the river. The sister dressed in a Yankee Uniform, and attempted to row to the Yankee side of the bridge by boat to finish her brothers task, but when the boat was sunk, she swam the rest of the way, and set fire to the Yankee side of the bridge.
The Confederates then blew up their end of the bridge, trapping hundreds of Yankee soldiers on the burning center section of the bridge.
The Yankee soldiers dove off the bridge and were captured.
St. Augustine was later captured anyway which made this battle so tragic.
In reference to the actual "production" of the 1912 film, in the late 1800's, most filmmakers produced their "Summer" films in New York, and the "Winter" films in Jacksonville due to it's warm climate, and established town.
Over time, the film crews made problems for the town, and were asked to leave. They refused, and began an attempt to take over control of Jacksonville.
In approximately 1900, the film producers "infamously" tried to "rig" the Jacksonville City Council Elections and take over the city, and were just barely defeated by the local townsfolk.
In response to their "crime", the City Council "booted" those producers out of the city, and sent them by train to the West.
The City agreed to pay the railroad for all costs "until the producers leave the train."
In revenge, the producers "stayed on the train all the way to the Pacific Ocean in order to cost the Jacksonville City Council as much money as possible. The producers eventually exited the train where it ended at an old Cavalry Fort near modern day "Los Angeles". The producers then set up shop in that town, and over the next few decades, Hollywood was born, as practically all movie production in the United States moved to Los Angeles.
So, funny as it sounds, Los Angeles, and Hollywood, owe their existence to the actions of the City Council of Jacksonville Florida.
"The Battle of Pottsburg Bridge" was one of the last films produced in Jacksonville for almost 70 years.
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