Lieutenant (Fr., from Lat. locum tenens, one holding the place, i. e., acting for another), a title applied to various representative officers, military and civil. In most armies the lieutenant is next in rank below a captain, in whose absence he commands the company. In the United States service this officer is called first lieutenant, a second lieutenant being subordinate to him. In the British service a lieutenant in the foot guards ranks with a captain in the army; the second lieutenant is generally called ensign. In the United States navy a lieutenant ranks next below a lieutenant commander, who is subordinate to a commander. In both the American and the British service a lieutenant in the navy ranks with a captain in the army. The lieutenant colonel of a regiment is the second commissioned officer, immediately subordinate to the colonel. The lieutenant general in the United States is next in rank to the general, who, under the president, is commander-in-chief. This grade, conferred first on Washington, expired by limitation at his death. It was revived by congress, Feb. 15, 1855, and given to Gen. Winfield Scott as a brevet, but the act was so framed that the rank should not survive him.
Congress again revived it by a law of March 1, 1864, when the rank was conferred on Gen. U. S. Grant. On the creation in his favor of the new grade of general, July 25, 1866, Gen. William T. Sherman became lieutenant general. When he became general, March 4, 1869, he was succeeded by Gen. Philip H. Sheridan. In the British service there are a number of lieutenant generals, who rank the same as in the American army. - In French history, the lieutenant general du royaume is a person invested with the powers of regent in temporary emergencies. Thus, the count d'Artois (afterward Charles X.) took this title on entering France in 1814, and held it till the arrival of Louis XVIII. The duke of Orleans in 1830 was appointed to this office by the chamber of deputies, before he accepted the crowm as Louis Philippe. The lord lieutenant of a county in England is a permanent provincial governor appointed by the sovereign, whom he directly represents. He is at the head of the magistracy, the militia, and the yeomanry, and is responsible in cases of emergency for the preservation of the public tranquillity. He has the power of appointing deputy lieutenants. The lord lieutenant of Ireland is the sovereign's viceroy or deputy, to whom the government of Ireland is intrusted.
He is appointed under the great seal of the kingdom, and his tenure of office depends on that of the ministry of which he is a member. He is intrusted with great powers, but acts in all matters of importance under the direct control of the cabinet of Great Britain.