HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT, Brig. Gen. P. O. HEBERT, . Shreveport, La., October 14, 1863.
Commanding Sub-District of Louisiana:
GENERAL: I am instructed by the lieutenant-general commanding to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of September 17, relative to the organization into the military service of the Confederacy of able-bodied negro men. The commanding general thanks you for the suggestion, and directs me to say that the subject had before been brought to his attention, and is now under consideration. The adoption of the measure, however, is totally at variance with the policy of the Government, and he is compelled to defer any action in the matter till the Legislatures of the States take it up and authorize such a course. The difficulty of getting arms is now our greatest trouble. The blockading fleets of the United States and France capture every vessel that attempts to bring munitions of war into the Rio Grande, and it is impossible at present to arm the troops already in the field in this department.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. CUNNINGHAM, -Lieutenant, and Aide-de- Camp.
The above was written four months prior to Cleburne's famous letter on slavery, suggest the subject had "before been brought to his attention", evidence again, that Cleburne's ideas were not formed in a vacuum.