The completion of that program would preserve the Union and change our country forever, but it also left many questions unanswered.James Buchanan and the ConfederacyPresident Buchanan did little to stop the secession movement other than make himself available for negotiations. Federal troops evacuated or surrendered national property to state forces, and Buchanan did not retaliate. Congress discussed the compromise plan of Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky, a former colleague of the "Great Compromiser" of antebellum America, Henry Clay. Crittenden's proposal included the key elements of extending the Missouri Compromise line permanently to the Pacific coast, paying owners for runaway slaves, and banning the Federal government from interfering with slavery in states where it already existed. Because of Chief Justice Roger Taney's opinion in the case ofDred Scott v. Sandford (1857), these propositionstook the form of Constitutional amendments, which required a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress for approval. Republicans, led by president-elect Lincoln, could not support the proposal, nor could radical Southerners, and Crittenden's compromise proposal failed. A Peace Conference at Washington, DC, in February 1861 also adjourned without reaching a compromise that would avert a civil war.Fort SumterWhen Lincoln warned the Confederacy not to take any more Federal property, there were only four forts still controlled by the national government. Two of these were located in the Florida Keys, which lay far outside the main trade routes. Another, Fort Pickens at Pensacola, Florida, received Federal reinforcements and remained under national control. But Fort Sumter stood in Charleston harbor, an important port in South Carolina, which in 1833 had nullified the Force Bill and in 1860 had led the way in leaving the Union.Did you know...More than 4.800 shells hit Fort Sumter but only one man was killed. Private Daniel Hough died when a gun being loaded for the surrender ceremony fired prematurely.