General-in-Chief

General-in-Chief

General-in-Chief has been a military rank or title in various armed forces around the world.

In France, General-in-Chief ("général en chef") was first an informal title for the lieutenant-general commanding over others lieutenant-generals, or even for some marshalls in charge of an army. During the Revolution, it became a title given to officers of général de division rank commanding an army. The "généraux en chef" wore four stars on their shoulders boards opposed to the three of a mere "général de division". The title of "général en chef" was abolished in 1812, re-established during the Restoration and ultimately abolished in 1848.

In Russia, General-in-Chief ( _ru. генера́л-анше́ф, probably originating from the French "général en chef"), was a full General rank in the Russian Imperial army, the second top in Russian military ranks (the 2nd grade of Table of Ranks). It was created in 1698 by Peter the Great. In 1798, the rank was divided into three equivalent ranks of General of the Infantry, General of the Cavalry and General of the Artillery.

In the United States, the term "general-in-chief" was used to refer to the Commanding General of the United States Army, who was the Army's senior-most officer. Famous generals-in-chief were George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and William T. Sherman. During the American Civil War, Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy was also titled general-in-chief briefly in 1865. The position was effectively abolished with the creation of the General Staff in 1903 — the Chief of Staff of the United States Army can perhaps be seen as the modern replacement.


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