JakeO, I'm not trying to fan the flames; I'm curious... Are you referring to an incident prior to Cleburne's death, or to his death? He was killed in action in the face of the enemy, at Franklin.
There was a vast difference in the Confederate Congress and the troops in the field, regarding the arming of slaves or free blacks. Unlike the North, when blacks fought for the South, they did so among their white comrades. At times, their race was not recorded, or deliberately left off the record. Still, numbers of black Confederates are reported by Union (Federal for Alan) officers. The numbers, whatever they may have been, were not high enough to make a decisive difference without official sanction. As you said, it was finally too little, too late. Stan