Impressment | Gilliams of Virginia

Impressment of Robert Carter Gilliam
Updated March 22, 2016

Robert Carter Gilliam, native of Sussex County, Virginia, was impressed from the American vessel Warren, lying at the port of London, in March or April 1803. It was said the Robert “was without protection.”

It appears that Robert Carter Gilliam is Robert Gilliam, the son of Anselm Gilliam and Martha Johnson. Robert’s birth is recorded in Albemarle Parish on 20 Jul 1761, along with that of his brother Carter who was born 26 Oct 1763. Robert’s brother, Richard, was a Lieutenant in the War of 1812.

Letter from the Secretary of State to the President.
Department of State, Dec. 2, 1803.

Sir,—Agreeably to a resolution of the Senate, passed on the 23d of last month, requesting the President of the United States to cause to be laid before them such information as may have been received, relative to the violation of the flag of the United States, or to the impressment of any seamen in the service of the United States, by the agents of any foreign nation, I do myself the honour to transmit to you the enclosed abstract of impressments of persons belonging to American vessels, which, with the annexed extracts from the letters of some of our agents abroad, comprises all the information on the subject that has been received by this department since the report to Congress, at its last session, relative to seamen. To the first mentioned document I have added a summary, showing the number of citizens of the United States impressed, and distinguishing those who had protections as citizens; those who are stated to be natives of the British dominions, and not stated to be naturalized as citizens; and those of all other countries, who are equally not stated to have been naturalized in the United States.

Another source of injury to our neutral navigation has taken place in the blockade of Guadaloupe and Martinique, as notified in the annexed letter from Mr. Barclay, consul general of, his Britannick majesty for the eastern states.

Beside the above, I have received no official information of any material violations of our flag during the present European war, except in the recent aggressions of the emperor of Morocco.

With very high respect, I have the honour to be, sir, your most obedient servant,

JAMES MADISON, The President of the United States.

Abstract of Impressments of Seamen belonging to American Vessels, by the Agents of Foreign Nations.

1. Edward Bass, Philadelphia.
2. Robert Carter Gilliam, Virginia.
3. John Leland Wade, Massachusetts.
4. William Wall, Irishman.
5. Henry Clark, Irishman.
6. James Clark, Irishman.
7. Christopher Tillinghast, Rhode Island.
8. John Roberts, Dane. or Swede.
9. John Backham, Dane. or Swede.
10. Barnabas Otis Jr., Massachusetts.
11. Samuel Wilson, Maryland.
12. Andrew Sampson, American.
13. Peter Thompson, American.
14. William Brown, American.
15. John Daniel Kessler, Unknown.
16. John Anderson, Unknown.
17. Michael Jones, Unknown.
18. Richard Rodman, American.
19. Dennis Sweeny, Ireland.
20. William Ireland, New York.
21. John Dirks, Denmark.
22. Peter German, Denmark.
23. James Peterson, Denmark.
24. Hiram Chaples, New York.
25. Joseph Simonds, New York.
26. Sylvester Pendleton, New York.
27. Ephraim Vanduser, New York.
28. Josiah Hunt, Massachusetts.
29. John Whiting, Massachusetts.
30. Nathaniel Keene, American.
31. Joseph Stevens, American.
32. William Evans, Englishman.
33. Thomas Challis, American.
34. Joseph Emerson, Massachusetts.
35. Benjamin Eldridge, Massachusetts.
36. William Finney, Massachusetts.
37. William Whipp, Connecticut.
38. John Simpson, Virginia.
39. George Arnold, British.
40. John Williamson, Swede.
41. William Liddle, Unknown.
42. John M’Evoy, Englishman.
43. James Farnish, American.
44. Neil Land, American.
45. David Kitchell, American.
46. Oliver Harris, Massachusetts.
47. Charles Tracy, American.
48. James Davis ( B..), American.
49. Henry Wood (B.), American.
50. Samuel Robinson, American.
51. Thomas Doyle, Philadelphia.
52. Samuel Watt, British.
53. Andrew Pace, British.
54. John Davis, American.
55. James Matthews, American
56. John Murray, American.
57. William Watson, Connecticut.

  • Wait, Thomas B. State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States, from the Accession of George Washington to the Presidency: Exhibiting a Complete View of Our Foreign Relations Since that Time.