Augustus Wade Dwight was born on February 22, 1827 in Halifax, Vermont. When the Civil War broke out, the unmarried lawyer put his career on hold and became an integral part in the formation of the 122nd Regiment of New York Volunteers (Third Onondaga). He was originally commissioned with the rank of Captain on July 8, 1862 and assigned to Company E, but less than two months later he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, a position that was never originally filled in the regiment.
Dwight, along with the rest of the 122nd New York, fought in over twenty battles from 1862 to 1865 including Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor and the operations around Petersburg. He served as the Lieutenant Colonel until January of 1865 when he took over command of the regiment upon the retirement of Colonel Silas Titus. However, Dwight had long commanded the regiment, often filling in for the frequently absent Titus, and was well liked by his men.
Dwight was wounded in the battles of Winchester and Cedar Creek during the Shenandoah Valley operations in October of 1864 and lost the use of his right arm. He returned to Syracuse to recover, and was soon reunited with his men. He was back in Syracuse once again in March of 1865 for a few days to recruit men for the regiment. Just seven days after rejoining the army, Colonel Dwight was tragically killed while leading his men in an attack near Fort Fisher at Petersburg, Virginia on March 25, 1865. A 4-inch shell struck him above the right eye and carried away the top of his head, killing him instantly. His funeral was April 4, 1865 and he was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse. General Robert E. Lee surrendered just five days later on April 9th.