The geometrically exact nonlinear deflection of a beamshell is considered here as an extension of the formulation derived by Libai and Simmonds (1998, The Nonlinear Theory of Elastic Shells, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK) to include deformation through the thickness of the beam, as might arise from transverse squeezing loads. In particular, this effect can lead to receding contact for a uniform beamshell resting on a smooth, flat, rigid surface; traditional shell theory cannot adequately such behavior. The formulation is developed from the weak form of the local equations for linear momentum balance, weighted by an appropriate tensor. Different choices for this tensor lead to both the traditional shell equations corresponding to linear and angular momentum balance, as well as the additional higher-order representation for the squeezing deformation. In addition, conjugate strains for the shell forces are derived from the deformation power, as presented by Libai and Simmonds. Finally, the predictions from this approach are compared against predictions from the finite element code abaqus for a uniform beam subject to transverse applied loads. The current geometrically exact shell model correctly predicts the transverse shell force through the thickness of the beamshell and is able to describe problems that admit receding contact.