Excerpt from Naval Training Cruise for Civilians, 1916
In the fall of 1810 Fulton succeeded in obtaining a trial of his torpedo by the Navy Department, and a board, of which Commodore Rodgers was president, was appointed to conduct them. Capt. James Lawrence, of Chesapeake fa... me, was directed to prepare his vessel, the Argus, to receive the attack. The defense which he devised is identical in principle to the modern defense against the automobile torpedo. Lawrence hung a splinter net which he borrowed from the President around the Argus at the end of his spare spars, which were rigged out from the ship's side. The net was weighted with grapnels and pigs of kentledge. When Fulton saw this he acknowledged that his torpedo could not get through and asked for time to prepare a scheme for overcoming the net. Thereupon, he proceeded to invent what he called a combination of knives calculated to be fired from a gun for the purpose of cutting a hole through the net, which being effective, a trough one-half the size of the body of a cart (containing the torpedoes) was to be introduced into said hole and the torpedoes emptied in the same manner that potatoes are commonly emptied in' the body of a cart. You will recognize in this combination of knives a curious resemblance to the net cutters of the modern torpedo.
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