The steam-vessels were protected by torpedo-nets formed of ropes weighted with iron or lead, and furnished with hooks to catch the little submarine mines. These nets were hung from spars placed athwart the bowsprit in front of the vessel, and sometimes in like manner along its sides.
Benson John Lossing, ed. Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (vol. 9) (New York, NY: Harper and Brothers, 1912)