Are you reading what I am writing? I am not arguing these ideas occured before the war, I said you start to see them around 1862.
"When Cleburne circulated this document among the officers of his division, four brigade commanders, ten regimental commanders, and one cavalry division commander PROMPTLY added their signatures to his. Some other senior officers in the army who had not signed the memorandum reportedly SYMPATHIZED with its contents." Bruce Levine, from his book-- "Confederate Emancipation". This clearly was not the unique ideas of ONE person. You can tell the issue was debated amoungest a large group of Confederate officers. Cleburne was the only one brave enough to write down what he believed and express it to his superiors.
Some of the newspapers that promoted arming the slaves...
The Mobile Register
The Richmond Enquirer
The Richmond Sentinel
The letters...which one do you want me to copy?
There was a terrific debate started about midway in the war and it swung heavily towards arming the slave late mid 64 not early 65. A poll was taken in the Confederate Army and arming the slaves overwhelming won, but Richmond did not listen until it was too late.