I can't agree.
Cleburne was real careful with selection of those who would get to look at his proposal, he knew it was a hot issue. Too much secrecy involved. I see no evidence that it would have been kicked around that much in the camps, as it would have been too provocative. Officers would have been much concerned about the moral if such discussions were coming up. If an Officer in the AOT threatened arrest for the feller spreading rumors of Joe Johnston being replaces by Hood, I can only imagine what would have happened in the ranks if it was widely discussed to arm Southern Slaves!
Look at how Black Yanks captured at Dalton by Cleburne's Division (See Foster’s account in "One of Cleburne’s Command" were treated, also the Dalton Commander’s report...
The Slaves were flocking to the Northern army, not the Southern one.
It was only when the horrific end was near, and Lee proposed it, did it become a serious alternative.