An improved surgical instrument is provided for applying surgical fasteners, such as staples, to human tissue which is particularly suited for applying one or more rows of fasteners across a tissue lumen. The surgical instrument can be used in thoracic and abdominal surgical procedures where access to the surgical site is restricted. The surgical instrument includes an articulated fastener applying assembly mounted on a rotatable and flexible support shaft assembly to provide more convenient access to restricted surgical sites. The fastener applying assembly has a compact construction including a fixed jaw which supports a fastener cartridge and a movable jaw which supports an anvil for clamping the tissue therebetween. The fastener applying assembly includes a pin placement mechanism which is actuated by the movable jaw to control the movement of a tissue retaining pin on the fixed jaw. A dual cam mechanism is provided for driving the fasteners into the tissue clamped between the anvil and the fastener cartridge. The instrument has an actuator handle assembly with an improved actuator mechanism for closing the jaws and driving the fasteners into the tissue.