Sergeant Elijah P. Marrs


Born in Shelby County, Ky. in 1840 to Andrew Marrs, a free man and Frances Marrs, Elijah lived on the Robinson Plantation with his mother and about 30 other slaves.  Marrs learned to read with the help from local white boys who were unaware that it was dangerous for a slave to read and write.  Becoming a Christian in around 1851, he was permitted by his master to attend Sunday school and read the Bible.

When the Civil War broke out, Marrs' thoughts soon turned to a new life of possibilities, those of being a free man.  He joined the Union army in 1864, along with 27 other men, whom Marrs had convinced to come with him.Marrs had enlisted on the 26th day of September, 1864 and was assigned to Company L, Twelfth U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery.  Finding out that he could read and write, Marrs was promoted to 3rd Duty Sergeant of his company.  His company was assigned to Camp Nelson.