He was the son of John Rogers Vinton and Lucretia Dutton Parker.
He graduated from the USMA, West Point, NY (where he was room-mate of JW) in 1856. He was an excellent draughtsman, and his early work is very like that of Whistler. He was in the 43rd New York Infantry Regiment, and served in the 2nd Division under the Brigadier General William F. Smith, 1st Brigade under the Brigadier General Winfield Scott Hancock.
Cullum Memorial Edition, Register of Graduates and former cadets, United States Military Academy, West Point, 1980; Austin A. Yates, Schenectady County, New York: Its History to the Close of the Nineteenth Century, 1902, pp. 306-311.