How would Frederick Douglas know about the composition of the Confederate army? What makes him an authority on who was or wasn't in Confederate service? How did he arrive at this information? Are we just supposed to believe Frederick Douglas because he's Frederick Douglas?
Did Frederick Douglas and other abolitionists have a motive for fabricating accounts of "Black Confederates"? During the final months of 1862, Douglas and others of like mind were promoting recruitment of black soldiers for U.S. service. If they could pursuade the Federal authorities that the Confederates had black men in their armies, it would help their cause. Eventually the U.S. government gave limited approval to this effort, so the efforts of Douglas and others bore fruit.
May I ask, if black men were being enrolled in Confederate service during 1862, why were Confederate officers trying to pursuade Congressional leaders to allow it? Did they not know the men in their own regiments? Col. William C. Oates says that in February 1863 officials in Richmond laughed at his earnest petitions to consider the need for black enrollment. Oates later wrote descriptions of every officer and man in his regiment, over two hundred printed pages. Not one of them was black, free or slave.
Again, if I may ask, if black men were being enrolled in Confederate service thoughout the war, why did General Cleburne propose that slaves be allowed to enroll? Did Frederick Douglas know more about the Confederate army than Patrick Cleburne?
Finally, why concern ourselves with what might or might not be found in the Official Records? Every Confederate veteran who survived the war and wrote about it should have mentioned black comrades who served with them under arms. Are there not published and unpublished accounts by veterans that tell this story? What about newspaper columns from the war published in the South. Why depend on Northern accounts for "the truth"?