In November 1775, Lord Dunmore, Virginia's last Royal Governor, planned to invade North Carolina. Capturing Portsmouth and Norfolk, he next barricaded Great Bridge on the Carolina side, blocking all shipments to the Norfolk port. A small force of Americans marched on Great Bridge. Knowing the force was outnumbered, Betsy Dowdy from Currituck Banks rode her horse Black Bess fifty miles on the night of December 10, 1775, to alert General William Skinner and his men at Hertford. Skinner's force reached Great Bridge in time to help defeat Dunmore on December 11, 1775, and end the invasion threat.