Reviews on John Wedeward's Sack Coats

The Watchdog: Volume 5, No.1  Winter, 1997:

    "A couple of years ago The Watchdog published information about Union Army sack coats. We recommended no made-up garment at that time. Now we are willing to do so. John M. Wedeward offers an excellent copy of the J.T. Martin contract sack coat. His coat has the details we said should be there - low color, tapered front seam, small notch at the cuff, coat wool trim on the inside breast pocket, and even maker, inspector, and size markings on the sleeve linings. This coat says a good bit about how much progress has been made in making reproduction uniforms. People used to argue about whether to use brown thread on sack coat button holes.  Mr. Wedeward's coats have thread dyed blue with logwood like the original coats - this thread will turn brown in time as nature takes its course.  Be warned, this coat is not a thing of beauty, and the lining is heavy. But, if you want to look like a Union Army soldier, you can do no better. In choosing to reproduce a Martin contract coat, Mr. Wedeward has provided a coat appropriate to both eastern and western theaters."

   The Watchdog: Volume 6, No. 4  Autumn, 1998:

    "One would expect the Federal sack coat (J.T. Martin 18 October 1864 contract type) produced by John Wedeward to be as accurate as one can get.  Considering John has examined original sack coats in the Smithsonian Institution's collection and in private collections, no detail in the construction of the coat has been overlooked.  The recent sample received at The Watchdog bears out that expectation. It is the pick of the litter.  ARF!

    The coat is made of a rich, 11 oz. dark blue flannel with a diagonal weave. The coat we examined is lined with light brown wool flannel.   Other lining colors are also available. John has used logwood dyed linen thread, but it does not work well for machine sewing. If you want to simulate the newness or fading of the logwood dyed thread, he offers alternative threads.  All sewing is done the same as an original.  Sleeves are lined with white muslin and have correct markings.

    Wedeward sack coats were one of the early progressive products that started appearing in the community about 9-10 years ago (John was a progressive before it was cool)".

(NOTE: Actually, John started making correct sack coats over 18 years ago, not 10).

Customer's feedback:

1.    I'd just like to make a comment, or plug if you will. I recieved a new J.T. Martin sack coat from Mr. John Wedeward and I can't say enough about it! The minute I took it out of the box I knew I had the "real deal". John's sack coats replicate the orginals to the point of mimicking them!  His wool is right on, unnoticable from an original in my local museum.  All you folks out there looking for the right sack coat should really check his out.  When I tried it on, it hung like the photographs, giving you that authentic look.  Iwould recommend them to anybody!
                                                                                Travis Lowrie, 24th Michigan

2.    John, Got the coat. It's awesome. Thank you very much.  This will be my primary sack coat for events, that's for sure"
                                                                                Michael Hayes, Ansonia, CT.

3.    John --- awesome. The J.T. Martin you made arrived yesterday.   I wore it around the house all evening.  I felt like wearing it to work today!   It fits great (better than any Federal issue!) Thank you so very much.
                                                                                Mike John, Cedarburg, WI (2nd Wisconsin)

4.    Hello Mr. Wedeward, I received your sack coat today.   It was waiting patiently by the door after being delivered.  Everyone was at work or at band practice when it was dropped off by our UPS pal.  Our Siberian Husky must have come un-glued because I found one of my long lost socks and a partially shredded dish towel near the front door.              Well, the box was in good shape and I excitedly opened it upfor the momentous try-on.  What-a-beaty!!! I was surprised how soft and rich the wool was.  Somehow, I derived the impression the coat would be a noticably heavier item, perhaps blanket like.  I was very impressed with the substantial weight quality, but not heavy.  Really good quality wool, a rich and substancial blouse. Now  comes the acid test, ... "The Fit".  Well Sir, the fit is remarkably, ... perfect!  Dang, it is superb ... really!  The fit is not drawn to me like a tailored suit, but it fits me perfectly and I still have full reach without binding when I cross arms to grab opposite shoulders.  The sleeves fall free, no wrinkles, and the cuff wth elbows at 90 deg. comes right to the base of my thumb.  The fall from the neck to the shoulders is flat and even.  The coat front hangs flat down to my thigh.
       I am very, very pleased with the fine effort you have expended to provide such a quality item. Dang fine work!  It is uncanny how good the fit is for me, without being personally measured. And, I can't wait to show it off.   I feel the "inner man" is improved thanks to your craftsmanship.
      Thanks again very much,                                           William O'Dell, Orlando FL

5.    Having researched quite a bit before buying (after making the mistake of paying $200 for a Jarnagin frock coat with the wrong weight and incorrect manufacuring process),  the hands-down best place to get your sack coat is from John Wedeward.  He not only knows more than just about anyone about the J.T. Martin sack coat, but he's also one of the nicest guys to deal with.

    Weed,  I have one word to describe that dammed coat you made me---
    Fits me fine. The lenght on the sleeves seems right, and it wears GREAT! It was near 90 degress on Sunday at Chancellorsville, and I had the best-looking sack coat in the WHOLE Federal camp.  I makes the farby "Barny" coats look like ##%#@!
     For all you authentics out there, check out his site and see how much you can learn and about how the coats were made and what you get! His coats are expensive, but you get what you pay for!!!
                                                                                        Bill Cross,  NJ

6.    Geetings John!
    I just wanted to say thanks!  The sack coat looks and feels great. I am very happy with the job and can't wait to wear it on the Hodge March
    I will be showing it off to my pards in the 3rd NJ and telling them what a great job you did for me.
    Hope to see you at the Outpost!
                                                                                        Harry Connelly

7.    Weed
    Just got the Sack Coat from the UPS man 12:25.  WOW!!!!  You have done a hell of job Weed.  I can't get over how comfortable the thing is to wear.   You were right about the sleeve lenght, it's just right. The shoulder area fits good.  The stampings look great also.  Weed, I am very pleased with this masterpiece that you created for me.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for getting this sack coat out to me. I will wear it with pride!
                                                                                    Thanks again to your commitment to excellence!!!
                                                                                    Baron Bennetsen,  Byran, Texas

8.    Dear John
    The tremor you are feeling is me jumping up and down with joy.   The fit is right on, and I LOVE IT! I've spent the last hour comparing your coat to the one I've been wearing. Now I know what a sack coat is suppose to look like.  I'm going to be embarrassed to loan out my old coat now then show up in yours.
    The coat arrived this afternoon, and tomarrow I get to wear it for something we are doing for the New Mexico State Defence Force. I can't wait to show it off.
    John, this is one first rate sack coat and I'll recommend them to everyone.  Thank you very much and three well deserved Hurrahs!!!"
                                                                                Sincerly yours,
                                                                                Ward A. Yarbrough Jr. ,  Albuquerque, New Mexico

9.    John - The two coats I ordered arrived Friday afternoon and they are PERFECTO!.  Thenk you very much and keep doing it your way!!!
                                                                                Greg Olson, Soux Falls, SD

10.    Greetings John:
        Just received my sack coat via UPS truck and I must say: WOW!!!
What a piece of work...  Excellent attention to detail, with the correct markings and a beautiful fit.  I hung it up next to my Barney sack coat and there was NO comparison.
    I have to say: if there are any living history/reenactors out there who want a top quality sack coat, this is the one to go with!  3 cheers and a tiger, to you John, for your fine work!
    Turn around time for my order was excellant.  Well worth it! - I'm looking forward to wearing it at my next event.

                                                                                 Kindest Regards,
                                                                                 Harold Adams, Co. K 47th NYVI
11.    Hey Mr. Wedeward,
        I wanted to write you and tell you how impressed I waswhen I got my sack coat on Christmas Day. I took it out of the box and I immediately noticed the quality of workmanship that was put into the coat. I was so excited that I wore the coat all morning. I wanted to tell youthat I am very impressed with the coat and I definately will recommend it to any of my friends that want an excellant Federal impression. Thanks again for having it done so I could have it under the "palm tree" Christmas morning.
                                                                                Jared Gude,
                                                                                Co. A, 7th Fl. Inf.

12.    Hey John, Preston here.  The delivery on the coats was very fast and we got them sometime on Thursday. Here is my reveiw on them:
            The Review:
    First, I'd like to say that we (my self and Tim Arnold) were astonished by the coats.  Every detail has been made to make the best J.T. Martin sack coat I have ever laid my eyes upon.  We are both very happy.
    I have shown the coat to a few of my "authenitic" friends and they said the wool is great and near-perfect, with a great diagonal weave and very light weight.  The button holes are NICLEY done with great threading as well.
    The stamps are also top notch with a nifty way of blurring out the fourth number. Now we can use them at any time period!  I am also IMPRESSED with your hand stiching for the sleeve linnings, as it isjust by the book.
    Oh, I almost forgot, the fitting,  They both fit quite well indeed. The sleeves are just a little long, but not a problem at all. Like I said earlier we don't want these to fit us perfectly anyways as the originals did not fit them like a glove.
   I am also surprised by the collar.  It is of appropriate leght and heighth, not any thing like the collars on coats from "suttler's row" that are HUGE and floppy!
   over all I give you a 10 outof 10.  I have never seen a finner sack coat. Tim and I willbe honored to wear these coats for all our events this year and the next.  We are both greatly satisfied and agreed that it was wellworh our money!

                                                                                        Preston Todd,   Memphis TN
                                                                                        Timothy Armold,   Blue Moutain MS

13.    Weed,
I recieved my sack coat a couple of days ago, sorry it took me awhile to send a thank you. The wait was well worth it! ....  a very outsttanding jog.  Keep up the good work!!!  I'll definitley recommend you as the only one to purchase a correct sack coat from!

                                                                 Thanks again!
                                                                          Jeremy "Corn" LeCrone, 26th Illinois Vol Infantry

14.   Dear Weed,
My sack coat  arrived today.  It looks absolutely fabulous - in so far as replica hastily constructed contract sack coats can look fabous! It's a handsome fit and rests comfortably on my shoulders.  The buttonholes are well done and the inspector marks alomg with the dots for the sizing are a nice touch.  I think that the dots will be an interesting thing to incorporate into my living history presentations.
Just looking at your work is a fascinating study in garment construction during the war.   Your work clearly relates hours of time and attention on your part in studying period garments and their make.  Moreover, after comparing your jacket with my older mass produced one, I can agree that there is absolutely NO comparison.  One is manufactured on the basis of historical research and appropriate construction techniques.   The other simple looks blue. The differences are ABSOLUTE!!
Thanks for taking the time to do this. I appreciate it greatly.  I hope your foot recovers well and that I may have the opportunity to meet you someday in the future.   Thanks again!

                                                                         Jeremy "brother maynard" Mazur
                                                                         Austin Mess,  26th Ill.   (Austin TX)

15.    Dear Mr. Wedeward
Thank you so very much for your effots and the "emergency-issue". The coat arrived safe and sound here.  I am impressed by the quality of your work and this is the most authentic sack coat I have ever held in my hands.  It fits perfectly.   Be sure, I will wear it with pride and hope to convince all my German pards of the quality of your work.
                                                  Thanks again, best reguards,
                                                                              Dr. Hartwig Buetter
                                                                              Holstein, Germany

16.    John,
First, let me say a great big thank you for comming through for me! I can now attend my event this weekend and also McDowell without worry.  The coat is superbly made, and the material and workmanship make for an excellant reproduction.  Thanks again for getting it to me before my first event, yours was the final piece in my Federal kit and it was truly a fine addition.
After wearing my new coat for a weekend in the field I just wanted to assure you that I am very pleased with it.  I received several compliments and inquiries about it and was glad to tell them where I got it. Thanks again for making your promised delivery time!
                                                                       Matt Diley, Barboursville, VA

17.    Dear John,
Even after reading about your efforts in sack coat reproductions in "The Watchdog" and the numerous customer feedback comments, I was still somewhat cynical, if not apprehensive after purchasing coats from other sources in the past.  I'm most happy to report that I was wrong, very wrong. This coat which I received today is all it has been reported by others, if not more so; from workmanship, to fit, there is absolutely no comparison to the others I'll now relegate to the attic!!!  I've read every article accessible to me, even viewing the Smithsonian videos on Federal uniforms in an attempt to find (and own) a truly authentic reproduction ... finally I have.  I can understand the enthustic endorsements you have received from those more knowledgeable than me.  Like so many others too, I wish I had done this years ago!
    Thanks, many thanks, again for your research and your product; I'll wear it with pride.

                                                                     Bill Bass,7th Ky. (US)
                                                                     Danville, KY

18.     Dear JW
I received my coat today and man was it worth the wait.... it fits great, looks great and I cann't wait to get in the field with it. I love the way the collar is put together too!  It isn't like so many others out there where the collar is so overly big, this could be worn down or worn up like you see the real boys wearing theirs.
Receving a garment of this quality made the season for me.  You will be receiving an order from a pard very soon.  He liked it so much.  Heck he almost opened it while it was on my porch waiting for me to get home from work when he saw the package and who it was from.  I will recommend your work to all I come in contact with who are serious about getting a great and honest replication of a JT Martin fatigue coat.

                                                                             Andrew  Di Gesu
                                                                             11th NJ Vol's.

19.    Weed
From the markings in the sleeve to the brown thread around the button holes, your sack coats are OUTSTANDING!  The weight is correct, the collar, everything.  I love this coat!  Expect to hear from other guys in my unit.  Everyone wants a Wedeward sack coat.  John, you are the man!

                                                                                  LeRoy Martin
                                                                                   29th Regt. U.S. Colored Infantry

20.     John
Got my sack coat today.  Thanks!  Your coats are without a doubt the best available. Mine fits perfectly, many thanks

                                                                                Mike Kelly   79th New York Vol's

21.    John
Received the sack coat yesterday and the quality and workmanship is beyond compare! Thanks for the coat, I am very happy with it!

                                                                                Charlie Pfeiffer, New Jersey

22. Weed
I got the J.T. Martin sack coat you sent a couple of weeks back.  In a word, it's AWESOME! I can't say enough good things about it.  However, my chums were more than a bit sorry that you are no longer taking direct orders  They all agree, as I do, the Wedeward made sack coats are the best!!!  Thank you for your dedication to authenticity!

                                                                                Mike Palada, St. Charles, MO
                                                                                The Black Hat Battalion

23.  Weed
What can I say? The sack coat I purchased from is wonderful and well worth the wait and expense.
Of course I expected the material, construction, and attention to authentic details to be first rate.  But, what impressed me the most was your absolute dedication to customer satisfaction.
I have heard authentic sutlers were a royal pain to deal with. There were some small problems with the size of the coat (due to my wrong measurements), but you displayed a sincere sence of urgency in getting me equiped.  In some cases going above and beyond the responsibilities of a vendor to a customer.  For that I am extremely gratful, thu my wife may kill me over the phone bill ......
I know you are no longer taking direct orders, but your quest for customer satisfaction is also displayed in the quality of your work!
Thank you for all of your time, effort, patience, and words of wisdom.  I will wear this cat proudly in the field!

                                                                            Michael Phineas
                                                                            Arlington, TX

24.  John
I received my sack coat in the mail today.  It is absolutely fantastic! I recently purchased a used Nick Sekela JT Martin sack coat from the web and, what can I say, there is no comparing your coat to his.  The wool flannel is absolutely outstanding and has no rival!  The lining is also stunning.  Nobody can make a replica sack coat like you.  In 50 years, they will have to pay close attention not to mistake these for the originals in the collector market!
You have perfected the art of creating a typical, mass produced garment from the 19th century!
Keep it going!!!

                                                                            Tad Salyards
                                                                            Minneapolis, MN

25. Dear John
Thank you very much for the museum quality blouse.  I'd always heard of them and now I know what everyone was talking about.....THE BEST!!!!

                                                                                       Tom Hegdahl
                                                                                        Lodi, CA

26. Way to go, John!  The coat was waiting for me when I got home from work last night.  It looked great as I took it out of the box, and it fit perfectly.  Everything from the button holes to the lining and all of the hand stitching is excellent.  I really do appreciate the time and care you put into making this coat. 

                                                                                        Bret Jaeger
                                                                                        Waupun, Wisconsin


27. Hey John!!
Just a quick note to say, this is by far the best piece of gear I have got since I've been in the hobby!!! I have used other vendors for sack coats in the past and I think YOUR coat is the best thing going!!!  It is the first coat I have bought that was more than I expected it to be, not to mention its the very best fitting coat!! The cheverons look great, and the customer service is outstanding! I look forward to talking to you soon! c-ya at Corinth!!!

                                                                                1st Sgt. John McClellan
                                                                                1st East TN Battery

28. John
I received the sack coat last Thursday before the holiday weekend. The coat fit perfectly.  I am glad I spoke with you on the phone regarding the particulars as you were right on.  The quality is top notch in every way, a wonderful copy of the original in every way.
    thanks for your help and the speedy delivery.

                                                                                Michael Dix
                                                                               State of  New York

29. Weed
I got the sack coat yesterday. You NEVER CEASE TO AMAZE ME. The quality is incredible. This is the second sack coat I've bought from you and I'd never go ANYWHERE else for AUTHENTIC coats! YOU ARE THE BEST !!!!

                                                                                       Robert Goodyear
                                                                                        8th Illinois Cav.
                                                                                        Phiadelphia PA. 12/2006


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