In the early months of 1863, the Union decided to dispatch ironclad vessels, heavily armored vessels, to reinforce the blockade of Southeast Atlantic seaports operated by the Confederacy. The USS Montauk attempted on Feb. 1, 1863, to destroy the Confederate defense works at Fort McAllister, Ga., a point of land near the coast close to the Georgia city of Savannah. Confederate defenders dispatched the CSS Rattlesnake to counter the Montauk and allied vessel pounding the fort. In the end the battle would last only a matter of hours and finish inconclusively. The Associated Press reported on Feb. 3, 1863, that a heavy snow storm has hit the Virginia coast near Union-held Fort Monroe. "The amount of snow is greater than has fallen at this point in any one time for some years. Four schooners went ashore on the beach near here during a storm." Such storms signal a slower pace to the hostitilies during the cold winter months when roads often become impassable and fighting difficult because of such adverse weather.