Joseph Herman Vaill was the son of Rev. Herman and Flora (Gold) Vaill of Cornwall. Rev. Vaill was a teacher at the Foreign Mission School during the 1820s. Flora’s younger sister, Harriet Gold, married a Foreign Mission School student, Elias Boudinot, causing a national scandal.

Joseph Vaill enlisted with the 8th C.V.I. on September 17, 1861. He was promoted to Quarter Master Sergeant on May 28, 1862; promoted to 1st Sergeant on February 20, 1864; transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Veteran Reserve Corps on May 18, 1864; and mustered out on September 20, 1864.

Joseph’s brother, Theodore Frelinghuysen Vaill, served with the 2nd C.H.A. during the war.

Joseph Vaill was remembered by Edward C. Starr as a “witty stammer” and “well-known after-dinner speaker.” He took over as editor of the Winsted Herald following his brother Theodore’s death in 1875. They were third cousins of John R., George W., and Henry L. Vaill, who also served during the war.