On the 22nd September, 1827, the angel directed him to a hill a few miles distant, called anciently Cumorah. Around this hill, in the fifth century of the Christian era, had rallied the last remnant of a once powerful and highly polished nation called the Nephites.
Here, two hundred and thirty thousand men, women and children marshaled themselves for a last, defense, in legions of ten thousand each, under their respective commanders, at whose head was the renowned Mormon, the general of a hundred battles. And here they received the enemy in untold numbers, and melted away before them, till none remained, except a few that fled to the southward, and a few that fell wounded, and were left by the enemy among the unburied dead.
Among these latter were General Mormon, and his son, and second in command—General Moroni.
These were the last Prophets of a nation, now no more. They held the sacred records, compiled and transmitted from their fathers, from the remotest antiquity. They held the Urim and Thummim, and the compass of Lehi, which had been prepared by Providence, to guide a colony from Jerusalem to America.
In the Hill Cumorah, they deposited all these things. Here they lay concealed for fourteen hundred years. And here did the angel Moroni direct the young Joseph to behold these sacred things, in their sacred deposit, and to receive, from these long-silent and gloomy archives, an abridged record of the whole, and with it the Urim and Thummim. (Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology/A Voice of Warning, Deseret Book, 1965 (originally published 1855), pp. 83 – 84)