Out of curiosity, is your contention (i.e. the alternative hypothesis) that Steiner made it all up out of whole cloth - not just the armed black confederates but everything? And that he wasn't in Frederick at all, and the estimates he gave were formed without talking with anyone who was?Did you even read the posts?? Let's try again. Steiner wrote that (1) Cobb was riding in a column containing 3,000 black men "promiscuously" mixed up "with all the Rebel horde" (which included Cobb's brigade - unless you have information to the contrary) and that (2) "most" of said blacks carried "arms, muskets, rifles, sabres", etc. Now read the well-known quote I posted from Cobb's letter in January 1865 - when the CSA was in dire straits and some were pushing the theretofore radical solution of enlisting and arming blacks. You'll get there ....
The reason I ask is that it seems to me that there are three possibilities:
1) Steiner was an eyewitness, and his information is based on eyewitness testimony (coupled with talking to others in Frederick during the occupation).
2) Steiner was not an eyewitness, but spoke to those who were.
3) Steiner was not an eyewitness and did not speak to those who were.
And in either (1) or (2) there is a way for Steiner's estimates to be based on a real starting point, and thus at least as reliable as OR v27 p559 (Jackson is "not less than 25,000") and the Baltimore Sun (Jackson is "15,000 infantry, 100 cavalry and 40 pieces of artillery", or OR 27 p660 (McLaws and Anderson are "30,000") or OR 27 p782 (McLaws and Anderson are "25,000 down to 12,000")