INTO THE MISSISSIPPI
Our vastly enlarged and reorganized company gave daily exhibitions in all the large cities to enormous crowds during the summer of 1884, and in the fall we started for New Orleans to spend the winter exhibiting at the Exposition Grounds.14 We accordingly chartered a steamer to transport our property and troupe to the Crescent City. Nothing of moment transpired on the trip until we were near Rodney Landing, Miss., when our boat collided with another and was so badly damaged that she sank in less than an hour. In this accident we lost all our personal effects, including wagons, camp equipage, arms, ammunition, donkeys, buffaloes and one elk. We managed, however, to save our horses, Deadwood coach, band wagon, and—ourselves. The loss thus entailed was about $20,000.
As soon as I could reach a telegraph station I hastily sent a telegram to Salsbury, who was with the Troubadours at Denver, as follows: “Outfit at bottom of the river, what do you advise?” As I learned afterwards, Salsbury was just on the point of going upon the stage to sing a song when my rueful telegram was handed him. The news hit him hard, but in no wise disconcerted him; stepping to the speaking tube connecting with the orchestra he shouted to the leader, “Play that symphony again