Admitted to North Carolina bar, 1841. Member North Carolina Legislature, 1842. Practiced law, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1844-1851.
United States consul to Paris, France, 1853-1857. Bearer of Ostend Manifesto from London to Washington. Unsuccessful candidate for government North Carolina, 1858.
Served as colonel 5th North Carolina Regiment, 1861. Led charge at Williamsburg, Virginia. Wounded at Sharpsburg, 1862.
Envoy to Southern Europe from North Carolina to secure market for Southern cotton, 1863. Editor Confederate, Raleigh, 1864-1865. Practiced in Memphis, Tennessee, 1865-1880.