The fact is that there are just too many secondary accounts. Too many statements by people such as Frederick Douglas and others, like Nathan Bedford Forrest and his critter company. Too many accounts of the body servants who pick up guns and fight after their masters are killed or wounded. Or of the servant who roamed the land without a guard foraging for their masters dinner while the Army marched to the next battle and returned to camp even night, and other such incidents to say that there were not many others who did likewise. Cleburnes proposal was not as many claim an effort to solely increase the fighting manpower of the Army of Tennessee, but to also reward those blacks who were already doing so and serving well. We know that women were not supposed to be enlisted in the army either, but they were. We accept that women were enlisted by hiding their true identity with less proof that we do the black confederate soldier.
We have already established that the O.R.'s are not the all inclusive source, but mearly those records which passed the selection process when they were being compiled. The supplements to the O.R.'s published in the 1990's are a testiment to that. And there are reportedly, by several noted authors of Civil War historical writtings, many other boxes of War Department records of the period in the National Archives which have rarely been accessed because they are of mundane interest. If this is the case then we must rely upon these secondary sources for a more accurate picture of the true nature of that war.