The lowest rank of commissioned officer. Note that a Subaltern is a term applied to any officer below the rank of captain, especially a second lieutenant. Derivation from Latin related to the word for alternate. Until 1871 the lowest commissioned rank was the Ensign in the Infantry and Cornet in the Cavalry - both names derived from French words signifying standard bearers. The Fusilier regiments, having no company colours, had First and Second Lieutenants anyway. The Fusiliers abolished the rank of Second Lieutenant in 1834. Between 1871-1877 the lowest was the Sub Lieutenant, after which today's Second Lieutenant rank was established.