Murphy the Pig
Admiral David Farragut— utterer of “Damn the Torpedoes” and famed first Commandant of Mare Island—began his career as a midshipman at the ripe age of nine. During the War of 1812, he was taken prisoner when the USS Essex was crippled by two British warships. Maritime law called for prisoners to retain their personal possessions, but a British midshipman had claimed Farragut’s pet pig “Murphy” as a spoil of war. Young Farragut protested. The British—always up for sport—called for a “midshipmen fist-fight” to settle the dispute. And beloved Murphy was saved.