Semmes was born in Washington, D.C. He studied law, passed the bar exam, and established a practice in New Orleans, Louisiana. Semmes served as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, the state attorney general, and was a delegate to the Louisiana secession convention in 1861. He was later a Confederate Senator in 1862-1865. His home in Federal-occupied New Orleans was commandeered by order of Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler to quarter Union troops. Semmes was a strong supporter and advocate of Louisiana troops, including the famed Louisiana Tigers, in which his brother Andrew served as a regimental surgeon.
Semmes died in New Orleans and was interred in Metairie Cemetery.
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|Confederate States Senate||Confederate States Senator from Louisiana|
Served alongside: Edward Sparrow
E. Warren Moise
|Attorney General of Louisiana