The first clash took place on 7th October, when insurgents prevented a group of soldiers from passing towards Dragalj. Several soldiers were killed during the altercation, which was the reason why the governor of Dalmatia, Ivan Vagner, declared a state of emergency. He received 5 200 soldiers, 27 cannons and 179 horses at his disposal. He was also supported by 4 warships.
Two unsuccessful expeditions soon followed. The insurgents, who knew the terrain well, easily moved, merged with natural shelters and intimidated the soldiers. The third expedition, which started with 6 000 soldiers, was also defeated. Pitched battles were fought near Knežlaz, and the greatest losses were suffered by the imperial army in Dvoričko ždrijelo and during the attempt to break through to Dragalj. After the failure of this expedition, the infantry retreated slowly towards Risan for days. A dozen of them died then, when they fell into Uglješa’s pit in the dark.